Film Review: “Fury”

Morgan Smith

Fury” didn’t tank at the box office last weekend.

David Ayer, a seasoned crime-drama writer and director, tried his hand at a WWII film, and succeeded. “Fury” absolutely trumps the disappointing WWII film from earlier this year, “The Monuments Men.”

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Fury Poster
Image courtesy of “Fury” Facebook page. “Fury” was released on Oct. 17.

“Fury” follows the lives of one American tank crew as they make their way through the German front during the final stages of WWII. The film stars Brad Pitt as the tank’s commanding officer, along with Shia LaBeouf, Michael PeñaJon Bernthal and Logan Lerman.

“Fury” is one of the more gruesome war movies in recent memory, with gore and violence that can compete with the famous opening scene in “Saving Private Ryan.”

The film was done mostly with practical effects, save for the gunfire. The German tank that the American crew face later in the film is an actual Tiger 131, known for its superiority to Allied tanks. It is the first time a real Tiger has been used in film, and the specific vehicle used is the only functioning Tiger left in the world.

The Directing and the Writing: 

David Ayer, known for his recent films “Sabotage” and “End of Watch,” wrote and directed “Fury.”

Where most WWII films have a clear and defining mission and end goal, “Fury” focuses solely on the relationships between the crew, and specifically the transformation of accountant-turned-machine gunner, Norman (Lerman).

Ultimately, it is a reflection on human morality and despite the amazing action sequences, it does not feel like an action movie. It feels like a drama.

This was masterfully executed by Ayer, as the film can cater to a wide range of audiences. The theater I went to was packed with students ready to see some Brad Pitt-infused action, and older theater-goers clearly excited to see the history and the drama of the generation before them.

The Acting:

Brad Pitt. Yes, he had the spotlight, and yes, he was as amazing as always. His character ‘Wardaddy’ was a perfect, though conflicted, father-figure to Norman.

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Logan Lerman, known for the Percy Jackson films and “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” stepped out of his comfort zone for “Fury.” It’s as if the role was written for him.

Shia LaBeouf apparently went a little crazy on set for this movie. He reportedly removed his own front tooth and didn’t shower throughout the entire filming process in order to make his character more realistic. Say what you will about LaBeouf, but his acting outside of the “Transformers” series is actually pretty good. He has been picking exceptionally dark roles since his “Transformers” and “Holes” days, working on “Nymphomaniac Vol. I,” “Nymphomaniac Vol. II,” “Charlie Countryman” and “Fury.”

The Cinematography: 

In many cases, the cinematographer is responsible for the style and the feel of a film.

Roman Vasyanov, known for his work on the brilliantly shot “End of Watch” and “Charlie Countryman,” was perfect for “Fury.” There are many filler scenes — American soldiers finding a piano in a war-torn town to play, seeing a white horse on a barren battlefield and fighting in front of a burning church — that completely reinforce the conflicting morality of war.

More than most WWII films, “Fury” felt artistic, which resulted in a more powerful experience.

Collegian A&E Film Beat Writer Morgan Smith can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @MDSFilms.