I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the target audience for a film like ‘Fury’. I just have a really hard time connecting to war films. I’ve seen many over the years and yet the only one that I can think of off the top of my head that has really made a real impact on me was ‘The Thin Red Line’. I’ve seen and enjoyed many films about war and the effects of war, but those really aren’t war films, are they? ‘The Cranes are Flying’ is a superb film, but it isn’t about the actual warfare. Anyways, my point is that I walked into ‘Fury’ kind of aware of the fact that I probably wasn’t going to love it. That being said, I’m always open to having my mind changed, and so I was prepared to give it its due attention and decide for myself.
My initial reaction was, “this is dumb” and while my opinion of the film has warmed (ever so slightly) since leaving the theater, I must admit that I still don’t really care much for this movie.
‘Fury’ tells the story of a five person crew manning a tank behind enemy lines during World War II. The crew is led by a seeming emotionless Wardaddy and contains a hodgepodge of personalities. There’s the religious man, the slovenly creep, Mr. confidence and the greenhorn.
That’s all I got.
Seriously, the main issue I have with ‘Fury’ is that there is no story. The film just kind of sits there, with the only progression being the obvious plot points of “oh no, a German” and a few random scenes spliced in to try and show some sort of human interaction. The film rests solely on the ability to convey a sense of comradery between these men, and yet it never really does that, which makes the whole film feel rather pointless. I never felt like these men were remotely close to one another, despite all of their ranting and raving about how much they loved Wardaddy and how loyal they were, and even with the pitiful climax of unified suicide, the film tells us something we never truly feel. Watching these men choke on clichéd and amateurish dialog made me cringe in parts (many parts). A lot of this detached feeling has to do with the fact that only two of these characters ever really feel fleshed out, and that would be Boyd, our bible thumper, and Norman, our greenhorn. Both Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman handle their characters with real grit and honesty, but they aren’t enough to make the film feel unified. The character of Grody is just hard to stomach, the character of Trini is just not there (like, Pena is such a good actor and yet his character could have just stopped showing up in scenes and I wouldn’t have noticed) and Wardaddy is such an enigma of a character and Pitt’s performance is so stone-like that he just becomes a poorly portrayed symbol, a prop and not a real character.
‘Fury’ has some moments, or I should say it has a moment, when Wardaddy and Norman encounter two German women and attempt to ‘play house’, but the moment is sullied by the uncomfortable entrance of the remaining crew. This is a scene that, on its own, says so much, and yet the film’s remaining preposterous depiction of the relationships between these men make the scene ring false.
And don’t even get me started on the atrocious action scenes that purposefully make the bullets and bombs look like laser beams. This isn’t ‘Star Wars’ people, and the gritty realism you were trying to achieve is lost entirely in your attempt to make your war scenes look cool.
Wow, and I thought on the outset that time had softened me towards this film, but writing this review has just reminded me of how bad it really is.
So, yeah, I wasn’t the best fit for this, but I struggle to think of why anyone would be the best fit for this, to be honest. It’s not that it is just a bad war movie, it’s a bad movie; period. It doesn’t have anything to say, at least in my humble opinion, and that is a problem. Some have noted that this is a plus for the film, having its efforts be pretty much as aimless as war itself and yet I don’t share this sentiment. A movie SHOULD tell you something, anything, and yet ‘Fury’ seems so empty. Lerman and LaBeaouf put their best feet forward here, but they can’t save a film that died a horrible death when David Ayer penned it (and I really liked ‘End of Watch’). Thank the heavens above for the newly christened Oscar winner Stephen Price and his magnificent score, which haunts the scenery like a gift from God, looking down at a disgruntled audience letting them know that not all of their time was wasted.
I give this a C-, which I think is generous. Oscar may bite, but if it bites at anything, I hope it's that score.
Now, since I understand that everyone has a different opinion on everything, and I'm a huge advocate for speaking your mind regardless of the consensus or what your friend's may think, I present to you a very thoughtful piece by a buddy of mine, Kevin, over at Speaks in Movie Lines. He had a much different opinion of this film than I, and his post on war, boys, girls and the way that the three are woven into the fabric of this film is a great one, so check it out!