Wardaddy: It will end, soon. But before it does, a lot more people have to die.
Fury is a well-acted, mediocre war drama that features Brad Pitt and company killing nazis. It’s a straightforward WWII drama, nothing more and nothing less. Pitt channels Lt. Aldo Raine as the first billed actor, but it’s Logan Lerman and Shia Labeouf who outperform him in wholly transformative performances. The sound design is top-notch and the action sequences are visually stunning. While there’s little substance and underdeveloped characters, Fury remains a pretty good, albeit clichéd picture.
Fury takes place in the spring of 1945, where the German army are in a position of retreat. The American forces are advancing in the enemy’s country, and the war seems to be coming to a close. We focus on Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) and his 5-men tank crew codenamed “Fury”. Apart of the crew is machine gunner Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia Labeouf), loader Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal), driver Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Peña), and rookie Norman (Logan Lerman), a typist who unwillingly gets sent to fight for his country.
One of the themes on display is how war corrupts people. Norman starts out as a pacifist, refusing to commit murder. He feels constantly bullied by his fellow soldiers for that reason. They feel that all he does is slow everyone down. However as the story unfolds, Norman realizes that the stakes are ‘do or die’ and becomes a sociopathic killer to preserve his own life. Wardaddy leads his crew from town to town massacring German forces with the 2nd Armored Division by their side.
Writer/director David Ayer (End of Watch, Sabotage) creates a dark, gloomy atmosphere that fittingly represents the brutality of war. It is a hellish outlook. Ayer uses dialogue and scenery to drive some of the film’s most powerful instances. There is never a light moment in Fury. The sky is grey, dead bodies are constantly lying around, and danger is always around the corner. The action scenes are shot with precision and the bullets flying through the air look realistic and gunshots sound realistic. Ayer is a good director who is able to handle all sorts of different material.
Logan Lerman cautiously exhibits three major emotions; fear, anger and bravery. Lerman, who’s best known for his role in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, tactfully carries this film, being the easiest character to sympathize with. This is arguably Lerman’s best role to date and shows his true acting chops. Shia Lebeouf also shines here, showing off his ‘method acting’. To be faithful to the script, Labeouf used a knife to cut his face to make his wounds appear realistic. He additionally demonstrates a believable accent in his comprehensive but sturdy performance.
The core issue is that the plot is formulaic, predictable and linear. Ayer’s original script doesn’t give much characterization to the thinly written characters. Lerman’s character is the only empathetic one in this film, which is disappointing given the talent on display. The film runs for about two and a half hours, yet we aren’t able to flesh out much of the tank crew. Pitt and Lerman are the only fleshed out characters present. I would have liked to see more of Labeouf and Peña, the latter seemingly being there for a quick buck. I wish Fury had a little less fury and a little more drama.
Fury = 3 out of 5