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Fury - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: B+
Acting: A-
Writing: B+
Cinematography: A-
Editing: B+

Will we ever reach a point where we don't need any World War II movies? Maybe not; it was so massive that there indeed remains many untold stories. Whether the story of Fury being told was an imperative is perhaps up for debate.

Fury does well what many other films have done either as well or better. A bit of it is reminiscent of Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998), with its hyper-realistic depictions of the horrors of war -- if not quite as graphic, but close enough. Some of it even evokes The Pianist (2002), albeit with Germans in hiding rather than Jews.

The film is set in 1945, just as the war is nearing its end, but Germany is remaining engaged to the point of desperation. Brad Pitt is Don "Wardaddy" Collier, the leader of a group of soldiers in a particular tank, which they have named Fury, and has rolled through everywhere from Africa to France to, now, Germany itself. When the film begins, one of this crew is dead; we never learn about who that man was or what he meant to the rest of them -- only that he is now being replaced by an inexperienced assistant driver named Norman (Logan Lerman, who could easily be mistaken for Zac Efron).

Don Collier is clearly desensitized beyond all belief from the horrors of the war from the first minute in this film, as are the rest of the guys in his tank, who are populated by the likes of Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, and Jon Bernthal. Fury is essentially the tale of Norman becoming just as hardened as the rest of them, developing a taste for killing Germans as the countless number of faceless enemies.

Fairly early on, Norman is told, "Wait until you see it. What a man can do to another man." This, really, is the essence of what Fury is about -- not the "man in love with his tank" sentiment that the film's marketing campaign is suggesting. This is not a "fun" war movie; it's a high-minded and serious one. That said, what might have made this movie profound, say, twenty years ago, is somewhat nullified by predecessors that conveyed its same "war is hell" sentiments, if not more effectively, then just as effectively.

The performances, for their part, are top notch across the board. Brad Pitt has never been better, and Shia LaBeouf almost manages to make you forget you're looking at him. And these war horrors are beautifully shot, with many indelible images that will sear themselves into your brain, from the wreckage the tanks roll through to brief glimpses of air battles between war planes in the sky above them. There's a creeping beauty to the proceedings that might just haunt you.

We all know the U.S. won this war, but movies like this underscore the notion that there are no real winners in war. One extended sequence is particularly uncomfortable, when Don and Norman discover a couple of German women hiding in a town they've rolled into, and then the rest of the tank's crew crashes what otherwise is a tenuously pleasant dinner with them. Norman struggles to make sense of Germans he's suppose to hate and Germans for whom he can spare some empathy.

Fury ends with a sliver of hope, but only at the expense of so much you're left to wonder if it was worth the effort -- another thing it has in common with Saving Private Ryan. This is a type of story told many times, actually; the key difference here is the setting in one particular tank, which barely outlasts the others with which it's rolling along the scorched German countryside. It may not be remembered for generations to come, but it will be remembered for a while after you leave the theatre.

Logan Lerman and Brad Pitt share in the horrors of war in FURY.

Overall: B+
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