Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Critic’s Corner: “FURY”

    In the bloodiest days of World War II, Brad Pitt and a battered group of dark G.I.’s take on the German army during the end of the war.

    “Fury,” directed by David Ayer, is a look at mankind using the iconic war as a backdrop. The movie skillfully maintains its intensity and feels fresh and entertaining throughout.

    Set in 1945 during the waning days of the war, the film focuses on a small group of American soldiers as they rage towards Berlin, suffering massive losses and becoming rather jaded by the whole experience.

    The men themselves are classic war movie clichés. There’s the scripture-quoting Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), the Southwestern Latino tank driver Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Peña) and the violent Southern gunner Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal). With the nihilistic Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) at the helm, the soldiers operate a confiscated German tank nicknamed Fury.

    The audience joins the crew shortly after suffering their first death since the war’s beginning. Enter the young, scared typist Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) to clean out the guts of the deceased crewmember before taking his place.

    “Ideals are peaceful; history is violent,” is Wardaddy’s maxim, and he does his best to project the lesson onto the new recruit. Pitt succeeds in creating a compelling antihero: a man who is terse, at times caring, but above all ruthless.

    Wardaddy is something of a grotesque father figure for the crew, especially for its newest recruit.

    It is the gruesome portrayal of Wardaddy and his men that gives “Fury” its unique quality. There are moments that feel like “Saving Private Ryan”—but they are rare. Instead, director David Ayer takes the movie into a realm that is bloody and full of grit. The cinematography captures the violence and horror of war through detailed shots of tanks rolling over mud-caked bodies and Americans shooting unarmed Germans in the back.

    Even in the movie’s few moments of quiet, there is a tension building in anticipation of the next graphic war scene. For example, after Ellison loses his virginity to a German woman, the same girl is nearly raped and murdered by the poor boy’s comrades.

    After two hours of blood and gore, the movie comes to its intense close with a long, gut-wrenching final battle between Wardaddy’s small battalion and a German column of 300 Schutzstaffel (SS) infantry. It seems insane because it is. But Wardaddy’s conviction and paternal influence persuades the crew to attempt the impossible—and a lot of graphic violence follows.

    The intensity of the movie and the strong performances from top to bottom make “Fury” an exciting and thoroughly entertaining war flick. Pitt further cements his position as an iconic movie star in his second performance as a European Theater of World War II soldier. Lerman is excellent as the baby-faced Ellison and even Shia LaBeouf (whom I normally find annoying and/or laughable) is quietly convincing.

    In all, “Fury” is a must-see. Ayer, who also wrote the script for “Training Day” and directed “End of Watch,” masterfully manipulates the familiar clichés in contemporary war movies in concert with unabashed violence. The result is a well-crafted film.

    Will may be reached at [email protected]

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