By Preman Koshar II Layout Assistant
It’s World War II. We’ve all learned about it; we all know the winners and the losers, the heroes and the villains. “Fury,” directed by David Ayer, embraces this setting. Much of World War II’s morals are portrayed as black and white—good and evil—but Ayer challenges this and makes gray the moral and literal color of choice throughout the film.
“Fury” stars Brad Pitt as Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, the head of an American tank battalion. It is near the end of the war, and as ‘Wardaddy’ puts it, they are finally “fighting Germans in Germany.” ‘Wardaddy’ has just lost one of his crew, whom he treats as family, and is forced to take on Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) as his new crewmember. Norman is as green and unprepared as can be. It doesn’t help that his first job is, quite literally, to clean up the remains of his fallen comrade’s face from the floor of the tank.
Lerman plays an embarrassingly stereotypical character, as do the rest of the cast. Shia LaBeouf plays a deeply religious man who doesn’t mind getting blood on his hands, Michael Peña plays an angry Mexican, and John Bernthal plays a dumb, sadistic redneck. It’s a little offensive, to say the least. The rest of the plot is a rather predictable war film tale of combat and sacrifice. There is one odd interlude where the crew fraternizes with some locals that I think was meant to give insight into their personalities, but instead felt like a waste of time.
The cinematography is, much like the movie, nothing special. The shots are clear, and done with some artistic talent, but there is nothing that makes the cinematography stand out at all. The acting is above average, but only barely so. Brad Pitt does a very good portrayal of a bitter and sadistic, yet still respectable, sergeant. Logan Lerman makes a decent character arc from newbie soldier to seasoned killer. The rest of the cast is unremarkable and unrelatable.
The score is very catchy and captures the intense emotions that warfare elicits. It’s not amazing, but it was probably the best part of the film. The plot is entirely predictable. I could tell you who would live and who would die five minutes into the movie. Not one aspect of this movie surprised me, and this really detracted from the overall quality of the film. The dialogue falls into the same pitfalls as the plot. It is generic and predictable. Many of the lines are stereotypical action or war film phrases (“Fire!” “Don’t let him out of your sight!” “They’ll pay for this,” etc.). It felt very scripted and unoriginal. The few lines that were even remotely memorable were made into the voiceover of the trailer, and were thus ruined for the actual film.
“Fury” is not a new breed of action or war film. It doesn’t create distinctive characters or an ingenious plot. There is truly nothing remarkable about it. It’s predictable. But it’s still a fun movie to watch. It is, quite simply, entertaining. And that is something that should never be taken for granted in a film. I wouldn’t see “Fury” again—but at the same time I don’t regret seeing it. “Fury” is another one of those films that is probably worth seeing, but will likely get lost in the vast swathes of cinematic mediocrity that plague the film industry today.
Preman Koshar is a layout assistant. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.