So from what I can understand at this point in his career, Brad Pitt really loves killing Nazi’s. I mean he played the strict leader in Inglorious Basterds, who demeaned each of his crew member’s bring him 100 Nazi scalps. Now in in Fury he plays another leader of a crew during WW2 and this time we witness him taking even more pleasure in killing Nazi’s and demanding this crew do the same. At one point we even see him slap a solider around, for not killing an Nazi and he than forces the solider to shoot the Nazi. Heck if I didn’t know any better, I would swear that Brad Pitt was just playing the same character he did in Basterds!
David Ayer however is not Quentin Tarantino (the director of Basterds) and I don’t mean that as in insult in any way shape or form. As were Tarantino’s WW2 epic was full of colorful characters and cartoonish violence, Fury is a raw, pulls no punches war movie, that brings you front and center to the action and makes it feel like you are literally in the tank with these soldiers. Ayer last directed End of Watch, which was the same way just involving the police. Ayer is making a name for himself by offering gritty pictures, that are presented as real as it gets.
Fury is the tale of a group of soldiers who are working in a Sherman tank called Fury. They are lead by Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) a tough but fun loving Commander who is long past seeing killing Nazi’s as murder. He is joined by Boyd Swan (Shia LaBeouf), loader Grady Travis (Jon Bernthal) and driver Trini Garcia (Michael Peña). These men all have the same feeling towards killing their enemy and not thinking of it as murder. That is till they are joined by Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) a young man who has no combat experience and is clearly not ready to be in a war. He represents the moral compass of the group.
We follow the crew through many of battles and we watch as the once innocent Norman, is slowly converted to the way of his brothers after seeing one to many Nazi injustice take place. In the beginning Norman is the concise of the group, grilling them for their every action, but as the film goes deeper the more we see Norman crack and the more he starts to act like Collier.
The movie is very intense as were one queit moment can turn into an all out war in seconds. We are right on the front line with these man and the movie wisely never shows the enemy coming or gives us any clues, it just blasts at the tank shocking us as much as it shocks the men in it! Said action scenes are wonderfully choreographed and expertly shot, giving you a real feel of what I can be like in those moments.
One element that I found very interesting in this film was the way the shots fired were shown in different colors. The enemies fire was red and the American’s were green. This is a very smart way of filming it, because often in war movies, you have a hard time figuring out who is shooting at who. I hope to see more of this in other films.
The acting is top notch from everyone involved.
Brad Pitt may be playing a similar role from before, but he is now less terrific this time around, show the cracks in the tough as nail leader of the pack. Shia LaBeouf for the second time this year (after Nymphomaniac) shows that he can do some great acting, when taking away from the mindless action movies. He plays Swan like a man who is tormented by his beliefs in god and the truths he has seen on the war field. And Norman Ellison really steals the show here with a performance that shows a complete transformation from innocence to corporation, in a stunning but not overly showy way.
The movie does admittedly drag, when it decides to spend too much time away from the action spots. An extended scene were Norman and Collier spent the night with two German women, goes on a bit to long and really takes away from the pace of the film. Fury is at its best when it is blasting us from all angles and giving us the claustrophobic feel of being in the tank.
Fury is another winner for David Ayer, who is quickly making himself a young director to watch. He went out to make a serious war picture, one that isn’t filled with over the top video game violence but instead a real, raw and scary picture, that shows that war is hell and it can do crazy things with your mind and soul. This is riveting stuff.