Monday, January 5, 2015

Film Review: Fury

" Director David Ayer's WWII Tank Epic; Fury Shows The Power of Faith & Humanity Even In The Midst of Insurmountable Odds."

 Fury is a World War II war drama that centers in on an American Tank crew of five men positioned deep behind Nazi controlled Germany. Opening in thetares everywhere October 17, 2014 Fury stars Academe Award Winner Brad Pitt, Michael Pena, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman and The Walking Dead's Jon Bernthal. The year is 1945 and the Germans are loosing the war. In a final act of desperation Adolf Hitler commands every able man, woman and child to fight, while anyone who refuses to fight is executed as a traitor to the Third Reich.  The Americans have started inserting tanks deep behind enemy lines in an effect to drive out the last strands of resistance however Nazi SS are hellbent on making their last stand and killing as many american troops as possible. 

In Fury, Brad Pitt plays Wardaddy, a sergeant scarred literally and metaphorically by a long tour of duty. He's the head of a Sherman tank (with Fury blazoned on its gun) whose bloodied and muddied crew is faced with death  day in and day out during the final days of World War II. The crew is constantly lumbering from one job to the next, escorting troops and clearing the way as the final push into Nazi territory reaches its ultimate end.

Coming into their  tight knit group comes Norman, played with quaking fear and moral sensitivity by Logan Lerman, who's inevitably going to undergo a baptism of fire as the assistant tank driver, helping the Fury team to push into Germany. But, the further into the enemy's territory they get, the more challenges and horrors await them.

There are intense fight scenes where the explosions are bigger than anything you'd have imagined, bullets whip through the air like red and green laser beams and there's a final (reality-defying) showdown which sees the tank crew overwhelmed by insurmountable odds as they draw a line in the sand.Visually, Fury is tremendously affecting, with striking war-torn vistas and hauntingly bleak imagery peppered throughout.

In among the grim and mud-strewn atrocities of war (people strung up by the sides of the road, a body in a suit crushed under a tank track, half a face is to be cleaned off from the insides of a tank, a soldier on fire who shoots himself in the head rather than burn alive), there are long swathes of quieter scenes where the tedium of war and the tensions and psychology of men together are exploited to maximum effect.

None more so than one central pivotal scene which sees Wardaddy and Norman enter a German home in a liberated village for some R&R. The house has two women within and thanks to Pitt's effectively dialled down, questionable character and almost mute performance, the simmering tension and latent uncertainty of how this will go brings out a dramatic frisson that's missing. Things are further ramped up a notch psychologically when the remaining members of the crew gate-crash the meal, adding a level of ugliness to the extended proceedings and proving a reminder of what lies ahead when the final vestiges of humanity are threatened.
Ultimately Fury is an amazing war film that draws on the greatness of films such as Unbroken, American Sniper, Lone Survivor and Saving Private Ryan. It is a film that does not just showcase the horrors of war but that also shows some of the more humane aspects that come from such a conflict. War is often villainized and seen as just one way however Fury shows the duality of War, reminding the audience that there is good and evil in each of us. You can choose good or choose evil. The five  men in the film are from different walks of life but are bound together by the circumstance at hand. The beauty of the film is that the men are able to keep their faith, hope and humanity even in the midst of tragedy, constant chaos and unthinkable odds.