Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Fury (2014)

With events that take place in the final months of the second world war, Fury tells of the exploits of a tank crew and the hell they have to endure.  Having fought their way from Africa, through France and Belgium, the crew of the Fury commanded by Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) are now in the lion’s den and are fighting their way through Germany.

Many war films concentrate on how horrible war really is, and though few have the impact of those first scenes in Saving Private Ryan (1998), Fury is none the less very visceral and hellish.  However, when he does it right, director David Ayer creates some very dramatic, tense battles.  There's a tremendous sequence when four allied Sherman tanks face off against a singular but far superior German Tiger tank; I think I really did hold my breath.

Brad Pitt is Brad Pitt; his tank commander a toned down version of his character from Inglorious Basterds (2009).  Though despite enjoying the killing, Wardaddy does still like behaving like a human, as witnessed in the scene with the two German girls in their flat.

Perhaps not a revelation, Shia LaBeouf shows again that he can be good, as he was in Lawless (2012).  As gunner Boyd “Bible” Swan and resident pastor, he's a well written character and the most memorable along with Wardaddy and Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) the newbie to the crew, through whose eyes we see the world of Fury.  Norman is very wet behind the ears, thrown into a situation he never thought he'd be.  His first task is to clean out the remains of the guy he's replacing: finding half a face by your seat is enough to make anyone throw up.

Steven Price who composed the excellent score for Gravity (2013) is the maestro here as well; though to be honest I don’t really remember the music as the percussion of firing tanks and artillery provide most of the accompanying sound.  There isn’t as much gore and viscera as I expected and that’s probably a good thing otherwise it may have strayed into sensationalist territory.  However, since the film was essentially about 5 men in a tank, I had hoped for better focus on the characters with more of a cabin fever vibe to proceedings.

Having said that, I thought this was a great film, with some very tense moments, made all the more real as so little computer imagery was used.  I think I remember reading/hearing that the only CG used was for the tracer fire from the guns.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.

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