January 7, 2015


David Ayer, 2014
Fury as seen in the decaying white paint on the barrel of the tank's main gun, is the large armored home to the group of five soldiers who serve as the main characters of this Ayers film. The film zeroes in on the latter days of World War II. Much of the European countryside has been ravaged by the destruction. The soldiers themselves wear much of the devastation on their faces. None of them appear to bear as much of the burden of the memories as Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt). He has seen many men die next to his gun and in front of it. He has grown increasingly angry with the German enemy. When he breaks away for short moments the memories catch up to him inducing moments of panic. His innocence is no longer evident. He is not exactly an approachable man. For him, it's the routine of completing mission after mission. He senses it's drawing to an end, but he expects more loss. It's almost a guarantee at this point.

When young Norman (Logan Lerman) is thrown upon him as one of his replacement troops, he isn't welcoming to the idea because he immediately sees the inexperience (and the innocence) in him. Much of the film becomes about Norman's character, a wide-eyed noob more suited for a desk job stateside and not even remotely equipped to dealing with the brutality that the others have grown so accustomed to. His initiation involves a lot of the veterans of the group slapping him around, busting his chops. You get a sense that they are just trying to make a man out him, they probably went through the same type of thing when they were new.

Most of Ayers film work has consisted of stories largely focused on police fighting violent street crime. There are some common themes in his films. Ranking hierarchy, male comradery, putting your life on the line for your job. He is able to inject a lot of that into Fury. At this point there have been so many movies about World War II that it has you wondering if anyone can create a film with some originality and uniqueness. Ayer manages to do that here. Some of the battles, as violent and gruesome as they are, feel very fresh. But they are quite gory. There are some images that are bound to stick with you, much like Saving Private Ryan probably hasThe energy between the five soldiers feels very organic, making some really great casting choices. A lot of war movies seem to always have this built in feeling of brotherly love between soldiers. There's something about the way they handle the group dynamic here that makes it feel more authentic. They are tense, quick to turn on each other and get physical. This would make sense because they have been stuck in each others company for so long, under little rest. Of course they don't want to lose each other, but it's a complicated feeling to say the least. A tough love dynamic at work. The movie manages to maintain tension, in and out of battle. When things quiet down for a moment, you never really feel at ease.

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