Movie Review: Fury (2014)

From the start, let me say that I am a big fan of Saving Private Ryan with Tom Hanks as the toughened army guy who leads his ragtag band of brothers (see what I did there?) into various battles to find Private Ryan. As I have been browsing the web to find out more about Fury, the messages that kept coming up was that Fury is a Saving Private Ryan for the modern film watcher.

Ryan was released in 1998. In terms of filmmaking, that’s a long time ago. Digital pictures, better sound and Game of Thrones. Today, almost every TV show has some really rough scenes. Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy and Thrones, in particular, has changed the way that a story is told. No longer can one assume that the lead character will make it through to the end of the film. Maybe that character isn’t even the driving force behind the story.

I went into Fury without knowing anything about it besides the fact that it was a war movie set in World War II and was about tanks. I also knew that it was part of the Sony hack late in 2013 and digital copies of the movie were leaked onto the internet. As a law-abiding citizen, I chose to pay the R65 at Cresta Centre’s Ster Kinekor.

As usual, the seating was ample and comfortable and the picture quality of the movie was great in the digital cinema with sound moving all over the theatre adding to the experience. In fact, there was one advert where the screen was blank with just sound transporting me to another world. I loved that.

To the movie…

FURY

The movie has a phenomenal cast. 50-year-old Brad Pitt. Shea LeBouf, that guy from the Transformer movies. That guy from the first two seasons of the Walking Dead who always has his mouth open, and a few other well acted roles. Reading about the movie afterwards, the actors were put through their paces while filming and it certainly shows on the screen. They look battle hardened, weary and dirty. This is no clean war movie. Things get dirty and violent. More so than in Private Ryan. One really feels sorry for the men and boys that were in World War II. On both sides. The Germans are obviously portrayed as the “bad guys” but there is a sense that they don’t really want to be in the war as much as the hero Americans also don’t want to be there.

Brad Pitt is great as the leader of a tank platoon, and without giving too much away, he gets more and more desperate as the story progresses. The all-male cast around him all add great colour to a very dark and depressing film. There is nothing pretty about war and a movie should never make it look like something that is pretty. Even in the light moments in this film, the tension of war is still always there. There are always sounds of bullets, bombs and explosions in the background. There is always danger.

There are only 2 women in the film, besides an extra or three, and only one actually speaks. The rest of the film focuses on the 5 men in the tank, fighting against incredible odds. The American tanks were weak, slow and underpowered compared to their German foe, and the crews had to make do with tactics and cunning to win the war. Scenes inside the tank are realistically claustrophobic. Vision is limited from inside the tank and that is well conveyed by the director, David Ayer. 

The violence in the film is graphic, but it’s war. It is the way it is, and I think that that is the way it should be. As I said, don’t gloss over the terrible, horrible things that were done in war.

I give the movie an 8.3 out of 10 with some great acting and some memorable scenes that will stay with you for a while.

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