Film review: “Fury” (2014)

UnknownThe one obvious question is: Does this, yet another war film, an amalgam of “Saving Private Ryan” and “Platoon” deserve a stellar “88” rating from rottentomatoes.com? The answer is yes, with a couple of caveats.

The characterizations are stellar. The principals unconditionally depict the emotions, stress and tragedy of brutal war scenarios that seemingly never end. Yes, Brad Pitt is excellent (and has clearly ascended to the A-List) as the stalwart that holds his flock together through it all. Shia LaBeouf), as loader Grady Travis is outstanding. Jon Bernthal and Michael Peña evolved to steely eyed, unrepentant killers with no concept of a future other than more of the same.

The other actors support the premise with excellence but it’s Logan Lerman as Norman Ellison, a benign clerk/typist pulled from the ranks to be a rookie tank driver, wholly unprepared for combat, that steals the show. Norman’s horror at the perpetual atrocities his fellows treat as a routine part of their day are mirrored by the audiences horror at watching him progressively acclimatize to it. Director David Ayer captures the suppressed agony of men in brutal combat with immediacy and accuracy, which brings up an interesting paradox.

What is the real value of violence in film, especially video game computer-graphic interface that festoons half the films out there? Normally, nothing other than to sell tickets to those attracted to that sort of thing. However, “Fury” is remarkably different, I think. The particular species of violence in the film seems necessary to bring out the reactions to it from the gifted cast. So, the violence in this film is part and parcel of the performances. Without it, none of those emotions would have the same intimacy and congress. It works for “Fury”.

Extras: Look for Michael Peña in the new series “Gracepoint”. Also keep your eye out for Clint Eastwood’s son from 1987 from a flight attendant, Scott Eastwood who plays Sgt. Miles. The birth certificate of Scott Eastwood bears the notation of “Father declined” and he has gone by his mother’ last name, Reeves.

Best part: Tender moment between Norman and a frightened German refugee girl and the aftermat

Weakest part: Not much. A little too long, as most of them are.

Disclaimer: Very, very violent.

I give it four of five vivid tracer bullets.

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