October 23, 2014
Fury (**) R
There are multiple reasons why director David Ayers’ WWII film Fury doesn’t quite hit the heights it seems to be reaching toward. For starters, there’s the decision on the part of Ayers to center his film on or around an Army tank, which to me is one of the most uncinematic settings I can think of for a film.
On the other hand, if you’re one of those who’ve been clamoring for the ultimate WWII Army tank film, you may tend to disagree, but I digress. There’s also the issue of the film’s two and a quarter hour running time, which does the film no favors.
Another pass at the script-rewriting phase could have worked miracles for the film. As it stands however, Fury is a mostly tedious experience that had me wishing more often than not that Ayers would get on with what he’s attempting to say about the horrors of war instead of bogging the audience down in meandering subplots too much of the time. After awhile it became a matter of counting the minutes and seconds until the end credits began to roll.
On the technical side of things, however Fury is a film unmatched in its depiction of the horrors of WWII. The film is brutally violent in many of its battle scenes and that’s they way it should be. War is ugly business and the film refuses to sanitize this fact as the audience is treated to gruesome body dismemberment and supporting characters being killed abruptly and without warning. Such is the fragile and unpredictably nasty business of war and the film’s best moments arrive when it reminds the audience of the seriousness and senselessness of war.
Photo: The cast of Fury, on Fury
The Fury of the film’s title is in actuality a Sherman tank whose purpose is to join in the war effort by blasting away soldiers after Hitler has asked all citizens to join in the battle. Don (Brad Pitt) is the leader of the Fury team, accompanied by war-weary soldiers Boyd (Shia LeBeouf), Trini (Michael Pena) and Grady (Jon Bernthal). The idyllic bond the men share is shattered when newcomer, Norman (Logan Lerman) is forced into going along with the men. Norman is at odds with the rest of the team in that he finds himself unable to kill others which is a slight problem if you happen to be serving in the military. Don does his best to force Norman’s hand in this matter but his efforts prove to be marginal at best.
The best stuff in Fury comes in the middle of the film in an extended scene where Don and Norman encounter a couple of German women who give the two men a long forgotten taste of the domesticated life. It’s a welcome break from the film’s pattern of following a tank from location to location, shooting up soldiers. Fury needs to be more than that and if we could ever learn something about these men, perhaps we would be more emotionally invested in the film. As it stands, Fury is marginally entertaining at best, with its chief transgression being that it’s simply too boring too much of the time.
Fury is playing at the Carmike in Hickory and other area theaters.
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