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Fury – film review

November 13, 2014

FURY

Does for tanks what Das Boot did for U-boats.

Reviewed on Wednesday 5th November 2014

fury 2014

Written & directed by David Ayer. Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouff, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal. Running time: 134 mins.

Set over the course of a single day during WW2, Fury depicts the exploits of a war-weary American tank crew during the final weeks of the Allied push into Hitler’s Germany. As seen through the eyes of a young rookie recruit who has been forced     to join the fight, we witness the true heroism, camaraderie and brutality of war.

Relentlessly intense and harrowing at times, David Ayer’s film does not shy away from depicting the ugly ferocity of war. And Ayer’s background as a screenwriter holds him in good stead as a director (as far as pacing is concerned) – as the story unfolds in a natural progession; with each event leading seamlessly to the next. The evocation of the period and setting is perfectly rendered and the verisimilitude very much recalls the sense of gritty realism seen in Wolfgang Petersen’s German WW2 U-boat drama Das Boot (indeed, these films would make terrific bookends, as they starkly demonstrate there were far more similarities than differences between the experiences of both the German and Allied soldiers during the war). The beautifully-staged action sequences are incredibly visceral and involving without resorting to the annoyingly faux documentary shaky-cam style which has become de rigueur since the Omaha Beach sequence in Saving Private Ryan (I’m looking at you Black Hawk Down) – with a deadly encounter with a virtually unstoppable and vastly superior German Tiger tank being almost balletic in its depiction; the historically accurate     (and breathtakingly beautiful) depiction of machine gun tracer fire crisscrossing the battlefield only adding to the excitement. And the final closing shot of the film has     to be the most memorable and haunting final shot of any film this year.

Performances are pitch perfect throughout, although I found some of the accents       a little difficult to decipher to begin with. Shia LaBeouff (with his much-talked about preoccupation with method acting) gives an incredibly convincing performance here and demonstrates he has clearly left his annoying Transformers LaBeouff-isms far behind him. While Brad Pitt’s stern tank commander is aptly named (Wardaddy) – as he commands his crew in an all-knowing, no-nonsense fatherly manner which is wholly believable; similar to his character in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. And Logan Lerman (last seen in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah) is also very good as the young recruit whom Wardaddy takes under his wing. His nuanced performance does well in conveying his character’s growth and coming of age over the course of the movie.

Soviet-born lenser Roman Vasyanov’s desaturated cinematography is truly beautiful. And the impressively detailed sound design by Oscar-winning sound designer/editor Paul N.J. Ottosson (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker) – as with Kathryn Bigelow’s films – is a major contributor to the overall immersive quality of the film. On the other hand, the overtly operatic score by Steven Price (Gravity) can be irritatingly intrusive at times, but nonetheless adds gravitas to the proceedings.

If the intention of a war film (or any film for that matter) is to so completely immerse the audience in a visceral experience; that we feel we have been through what the characters have been through to some extent; then this film does this extremely well.

4 stars out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Viewed at the Event Cinemas Megaplex Marion, Adelaide, November 5th 2014.

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.

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