A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
What better way to kick off 2015 than with a hard-hitting, gruelling war flick…
David Ayer’s “Fury” (or as Zach Galifianakis refers to it; “Furry”), his fifth and probably his best to-date, is a harrowing account of the horrors of war during 1945.
With a solid cast lead by executive producer Brad Pitt, the end result of “Fury” is a well-acted, well-directed and visually striking experience. Be warned though, this is not for the feint of heart…or loathers of Shia LeBeouf for that matter…
Set during WWII, a small, tight-knit crew of U.S soldiers find themselves enduring a crescendoing struggle as the enemy German forces mount their all-out-war attack.
After being appointed a significant role on board Fury, the tank manned by Pitt’s Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, young Norman Ellison (played superbly by Logan Lerman) experiences the horrors and stresses of war up close and personal.
Norman’s nervousness, hesitance and incompetence under pressure express his ‘fish out of water’ state of mind, and it doesn’t sit very well with his new companions, particularly Collier.
Norman is then taken under the wing of Collier, and through horrifying initiation exercises which eliminate any essence of humanity within an individual, Norman’s journey into adjustment and conflict becomes an enthralling, heart-wrenching and full-on one.
Throughout the narrative, character arks are explored, as well as relationships and internal hardships. This boils down to very good direction from Ayer as he is able to evenly explore each member of cast, all the while being so obviously in love with Pitt.
The action sequences are explosive and suspenseful throughout, however my primary gripe is to do with special effects in post-production.
Gunfire is one thing, but when bullets and missiles are made more obvious with after-effects, that’s when things can become a little risky. It may have a been a symbolic, deliberate and meaningful choice, but to have what effectively appears to be lazers shooting out of tank cannons just becomes distracting.
There is nothing else I can liken this effect to more than the Stormtrooper gunfire from “Star Wars”; see it for yourself and tell me I’m wrong!
Shia LeBeouf and Logan Lerman are tremendous in “Fury”. The struggle of Norman as well as the indecipherable emotional wreck that is LaBeouf’s Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan make for excellent character dynamics and contrasts.
We all are aware of LaBeouf’s off-screen way of life, but at least he’s graduated from the stuttering mess that he was in “Transformers” and shown his skills as a mature actor. I for one hope he keeps it up.
As far as Brad Pitt is concerned, it’s hard to look past a recent role with similar circumstances. Lt. Aldo Raine from “Inglourious Basterds” was another patriotic American, hellbent on killing as many German enemies as he could during the war. However, Collier is far more fierce, menacing and troubled.
I can’t remember when I last saw Brad Pitt in such a powerful role. A role where he was the leader, the hero, the mentor; but also selfish, aggressive and inhumane at points.
His character is so excellent as it truly demonstrates a hardened figure with a deep, dark past in warfare and conflict.
The end credits could be seen as far too graphic and full-on, but the red/black quick-fire montage of war footage, accompanied by Nazi chants of patriotism, featuring Adolf Hitler himself all sum up the tone of “Fury” in full. After the film itself concluded and the credits began, I for one was transfixed in uneasiness. So although they’re not easy on the eye, for the full experience of the film, I’d recommend enduring them.
I’m not usually a war-film enthusiast. I don’t care much for ultra-violent films with minimal plot and gratuitous death. “Fury” is an example of how a war epic can be made correctly. It’s a film that explores character growth, the horrors of war and the connection certain people have in amongst the endless combat.
David Ayer’s latest is a hard-hitting drama with a lot of grit and darkness, but it all validates itself as a solid example of the genre through great chemistry, engrossing action and a brutal, unrelenting tone.