review//FURY

Grade: A+

FURY
Directed by David Ayer
Starring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal

Movies set in WWII are a dime a dozen when looking at the war genre. It's a time that has become romanticized in every aspect of the word. American troops are gleamingly the heroes and concentration camps are the one constant that will have everyone choking back tears. As far as movies go, films set in WWII are possibly the most overdone, but welcome, of any other type of movie. There's something inspiring, emotionally, about seeing what the world went through together, even in the most direct or exact moment. David Ayer's Fury is one of those stories. Minute in its scope compared to the rest of the war, but spectacular in its visage of heroism and sacrifice.

Pitt stars as Don 'Wardaddy' Collier, a sort of antihero, at first. He's a rough and tough army sergeant bent on taking out any and every enemy he finds in Nazi-controlled Germany. He leads a ragtag crew of soldiers armed with the same mission. There's Boyd 'Bible' Swan, a charming Christian who reads last rites to dying enemy soldiers and tries to be an inspiring voice, played with fervor by Shia LaBeouf. Trini 'Gordo' Garcia, played by Michael Pena, is a Mexican-American always up for a good time. And, Grady 'Coon-Ass' Travis is an irreverent, white-blooded American who isn't afraid to push the buttons, played by Jon Bernthal. War has jaded their minds and nothing seems bad enough to make them falter. The team has been together for four years and you can tell by the way the respect each other and know each other's ticks. When a rookie army clerk is assigned to the frontlines and placed in their tank crew, the fight for survival becomes a little shaky. Logan Lerman becomes the star as Norman Ellis, a bewildered soldier whose fresh mind is quickly put to the test. Riding around in a tank called Fury, the crew develops a certain ability to masterfully take on any battlefield in which they are placed. When they find themselves at a crossroads alone with hundreds of enemy soldiers approaching, the ultimate sacrifice begins.

First and foremost, this is a war movie. There is plenty of violence and gory sights that'll make you squirm in your seat, very similar to Saving Private Ryan's opening beach scene. Director Ayer has a knack for creating interesting and realistic worlds in each of features, no matter how gritty they might be. The Germany we're introduced to here is very believable and the terrifying WWII images are subtle, but haunting. It's a vision of Nazi Germany we're familiar with, but a version we've not quite endured before.

Pitt is at the helm of the ensemble cast, who works wonders with the great script, also written by Ayer. While, at first, it may feel like a new rendition of Pitt's role in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, it is in fact a more sincere turn that the scalp-hungry Nazi fighter we've already seen. His Wardaddy can still be mean, though. A scene where he forces Ellis to shoot an enemy solider at close range is all things startling and intense. Lerman, as the inexperienced Ellis, quickly reminds why he's one of Hollywood's best young talents. He portrays Ellis with a brutal honesty that makes the final chapter all the more emotional. LaBeouf is the other standout. He's almost unrecognizable with his bushy mustache and focused accent. His personal life may have overshadowed his talents in recent years, but there's no denying the guy is hugely brilliant when given a meaty role like Bible. Like Lerman, the final act is his true moment to shine. Trust me, he's incredible.

The film works on every level. The effects are great. I especially liked the Stars Wars-like green and red chasers following the bullets. It was a nice touch that could've been distracting, but wasn't at all. There was so much meat in the script and the flow was just right that the entire two hours felt like nothing.

The final act, which I won't say too much more about, is so cleverly done that it is a great example of how giving a good director this type of material means you'll get the best version it can be. I could easily see a run-of-the-mill director take this film into ultra-action movie mode. It wouldn't work. Sure, it'd be exciting to see all of those explosions. But, what holds Fury together is its heart.

Rating: R
Runtime: 134 minutes

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