Review of "Fury (DVD)"

published 01/12/2014 | kojak123
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Super
Pro Realistic, great cast, superbly acted!
Cons Not as much character introduction/development as needed.
exceptional
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"If War is Hell. Fury is hell on wheels..."

Fury (DVD)

Fury (DVD)

Fury: Movie only review


I've just caught this at the cinema and was quite surprised to find it listed on Ciao already, but while it's fresh in my mind I'll scribble down my thoughts.
Fury

Fury is a 2014 movie set in WWII which follows the story of a Sherman tank (Christened 'Fury' by her commander) and her five man crew.
Led by veteran Sergeant Don 'Wardaddy' Collier, the team push deep into enemy Germany as the second World War heads into its last few bloody months.

Cast

Brad Pitt as Don 'Wardaddy' Collier
Shia LaBeouf as Boyd 'Bible' Swan
Michael Pena as Trini 'Gordo' Garcia
John Bernthal as Grady 'Coon-Ass' Travis
Logan Lerman as Norman Ellison

Directed by David Ayer (also the writer).

The cast are an excellent assembly who all seem to gel well. Brad Pitt is the obvious 'A-Lister', but some red hot talent with Bernthal (Shane, from The Walking Dead), LaBeouf (Transformers) and Pena (The Shield plus a handful of lesser known movies). Logan Lerman is better known as Percy Jackson, from the movies of the same name, but he really shines here in an 'adult' role, the first I've seen him in.
The direction...well, the movie is dark and depressing and a little bit difficult to watch at some points, which I imagine is rather authentic so I'll say direction is excellent.
I gather LaBeouf got so into character that he refused to shower or shave and became quite unhinged during filming...

Story

We begin by panning across a scene of recent devastation; a battlefield with dead bodies and destroyed tanks scattered about. A German reconnaissance officer rides through on horseback and is attacked and killed by a survivor from one of the tanks - Sergeant 'Wardaddy' Collier. He clambers back into his tank (Fury) and we meet the crew. Evidently all but one of the five man crew have survived the battle and are working on repairing the tank in order to drive it back to the safety of the Allied base.
Once back at HQ the crew are welcomed and congratulated, but told to clean the tank up then head back out on a new mission to take back a small Nazi occupied town. Wardaddy accepts his orders but once out of sight of his superiors and crew-mates he breaks down in tears and we can see he's struggling to cope with life on the front-line.
New recruit Norman Ellison is introduced to the crew as their new gunner, despite his protest that he joined the army as a an office-based typing clerk and isn't prepared for war. His pleas to leave the tank fall on deaf ears and the crew take him aboard for their latest mission.
Wardaddy joins a convoy of five tanks and they head directly on to their next mission.

I can't go into detail from this point as it would be hard to avoid spoilers, but the majority of the movie from then on is made up of a handful of set pieces. First is the rescue of several US soldiers who are pinned down by a German platoon. The tanks must go in and clear the heavy artillery, thus enabling the ground troops to move forward and wipe out their German counterparts. Once accomplished, the tank platoon accompanied by Baker company (the troops they've just rescued) journey to the Nazi occupied town, and we witness the ensuing battle to take it back under Allied control.
Immediately following that there is a nice lull where the crew take a few hours 'R&R' (rest and relaxation), though even then there is a violent undercurrent as the threat of theft and rape is extremely real for the innocent civilian population of the town (it seems some of the soldiers struggled to differentiate innocent parties in the war - German to them meant either Nazi or Nazi supporter, and there was no room for middle ground).
Just as we settle into feeling fairly safe, there is a call through that all remaining tanks must proceed to another US Army base which is under threat of imminent attack. The base is lightly armed and is a medical unit and supply centre, so an attack by the Germans would basically be a massacre. The tanks are dispatched to guard a road leading to the base and to attack/destroy anything that tried to pass through.
On their way there, there is an attack from a bigger, faster and more heavily armed German Tiger tank. This is a superb scene, it shows the vast superiority of the German engineering during the war - if it wasn't for the sheer number of allied units in Europe then there may well have been a different outcome.
Finally, on their way to the final holding position the tank Fury is left stranded after breaking one of the huge metal tracks. Unluckily for them, they realise after some light reconnaissance that the German troops advancing on the medical centre are actually a full company of SS soldiers (Schutzstaffel: they were the most experienced and most loyal German soldiers with a fierce allegiance to Adolf Hitler and his ideals) and that they are set pass by their current position.

The soldiers must decide whether to abandon their beloved Fury and retreat, meaning catastrophic losses to the base they have been sent to protect, or stay and try to inflict as much damage as possible on the SS unit, which would likely save the base but mean almost certain death for them.

Execution

The story took many years to write and then develop into a screenplay, and although none of it is based on factual events the writer(s) took into account the memoirs of several tank commanders and crew with a view to making it as realistic as possible. With that in mind, it's no surprise that the movie is quite a hard-hitting piece of cinema. The story flows extremely well, and although there is a lot of action packed into the short timeframe shown in the film, I gather this was fairly routine. A working tank, in whatever state of disrepair, was a very valuable commodity and so would be in demand on every battlefield during WW2. Crews were quite easily interchangeable, death during battle was a very real possibility and so new faces would be quite common, some commanders shunning new crewmates and holding back from bonding with a soldier who may not make it through the next enemy encounter.

The character development and slow-reveal of some ugly traits was very well done. Obviously the crew are from different backgrounds and with different outlooks on the theatre of War, but they are forced together and need each other to survive. Trust is evident, indeed essential, but there are lots of obvious niggles and rivalries between some of the guys.
I don't think that enough was done to introduce the characters. When new guy Ellison is introduced it becomes clear that he is very religious, and he seems to be mocked by the rest of the crew. The character played by Shia LaBeouf (Boyd 'Bible' Swan) is also religious - hence the nickname - but I didn't get that until much later in the movie, it just seemed that he was teasing Ellison, asking "have you been saved?".
Likewise with 'Wardaddy'. There is the moment of vulnerability quite early in the film and then he plays the archetypal expressionless battle-hardened career soldier for the duration. I think a few more moments of reflection would have been apt for what he's seen and lived through.


Overall

No-one other than those who lived it will ever know what it was like to be on the ground and on the frontline during those final weeks of World War 2.
Still, by using original memoirs and showing the ugly side of the war rather than just basking in the victories I think we get a very good idea of the scene. This movie is an excellent example of not glorifying the war, and in my opinion sits up there with Saving Private Ryan and the Band of Brothers series as almost a historical reference. Certainly securing the loan of real Sherman tanks and the German 'Tiger' tank (a real coup since it is the only surviving example!) boosted the realism immensely.

The film does suffer a little from the Hollywood touch, with rather unrealistic battle scenes in which the Germans can't shoot straight and the Americans never miss, but any feel-good moments are quickly crushed and the intensity of War is thrust on us in a couple of quite harrowing scenes which nonetheless serve to build character.

I really enjoyed the film, but I was a little bit jolted by it and left the cinema not quite sure if I thoroughly enjoyed the film or was disturbed by it. I think that's a good thing in this case, I don't believe that the war should be celebrated, but neither should it be forgotten.

Info

Quite a big budget for a WW2 film at $68 million. I'm sure Brad Pitt was the big appeal to the masses, but either way it's scooped back over $170 million and counting.
Rated as a '15' certificate. Borderline 18 in my eyes, with lots of bad language, lots of killing, scenes of execution and the threat of rape, but that is probably correct given the context.
Long runtime of 135 minutes, I find that anything over 2 hours needs to be very engaging to keep the audiences attention, but this had enough action in the final half an hour (plus a fairly swift ending) that it didn't feel over long.


Recommended?

I hate to sound sexist but I think this, as with a good many war films, is a blokes one. I watched it with a male friend of mine, but I'd never dream of watching it on a date night. Not to say some women won't enjoy it, but I'd say the audience it targets is generally male.
There isn't much light relief, it's an intense movie showing the horror of war showcasing the special sort of people who fought it for us and the gut-wrenching decisions they had to make.

4/5 is my rating, it wasn't all good but there was more good than bad and it will definitely stay with me.


K

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Comments on this review

  • IzzyS published 02/03/2017
    Thorough review.
  • justarube published 09/10/2016
    Nice review
  • Pointress published 31/01/2015
    E. Mr P wants to see this.
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Product Information : Fury (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Pitt, Brad

DVD Region: DVD

Classification: 15 years and over

Video Category: Feature Film

Director(s) (Last name, First name): David Ayer

Title: F

EAN: 5051159146359

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Listed on Ciao since: 28/10/2014