Movie review 'Fury': A good watch undoubtedly

DECCAN CHRONICLE | LAKSHMI GOVINDRAJAN JAVERI
Published Oct 30, 2014, 4:09 pm IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 5:56 pm IST
A still from the film 'Fury'.
 A still from the film 'Fury'.
Director: David Ayer
Cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood
Rating: Three

US Army Staff Sergeant Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Pitt) is commanding a Sherman tank Fury in April 1945, when one of his crew members, an assistant driver and bow gunner, is killed in the battle. The replacement turns out to be a recently-enlisted Army clerk Norman Ellison (Lerman) who hasn’t been at the battle front, and worse, has all of seven weeks’ experience in working for the Armed Forces. If that doesn’t inspire much confidence in the team, the crew also has to hold a vital crossing while being outnumbered and facing an opponent with far superior warfare. The film takes the viewer through the manning up of Norman -- from being a reluctant soldier to an expletive-spewing charged warrior who through his stint in the tank, has lived quite a lifetime.

As is the case with most new, inexperienced entrants into a veteran team, Norman is instantly hated. He’s too much of an optimist and his innocence, although refreshing, is nothing but grating naiveté for his crew members, who have seen the ravages of a war and are currently doing their all to move forward in a situation where the odds are heavily stacked against them.

 

I’m quite curious to watch the uncut version of this film given that the kind of gore and brutality that is commonplace on a battlefield has been quite liberally shown in the India release. The scene where Norman picks up the pale and sponge to clean in the insides of the tank will remain with me for a long time to come. Like Norman, I had half a mind of running out of the cinema hall to stop the curdling of my stomach. The film nonchalantly shows piles of bodies, eye balls being gouged out and a massive tank that has no time for morals while headed to war over a row of corpses.

 

The first half of the film works tirelessly to create the growth of young Norman and how he struggles to embrace the reality of the war. A man trained to write 60 words a minute has had not a chance, and he’s thankful for that, to load a machine gun. Lerman’s innocence coupled with his eventual hardened demeanor is the star of the film. He plays the character with much boyish charm and is actually a breath of fresh air both in the tank and on the screen, largely due to his engaging face. He wisens up, but doesn’t lose who he truly is.

 

Wardaddy, initially reluctant to be imparting any kind of knowledge to the newbie, warms up to Norman and takes him under his wings. Pitt is not the goofie soldier from Inglourious Basterds, but he doesn’t add much to his role. Frankly anybody could’ve played that character, but Pitt is dishy so we’re not complaining. Shia LaBeouf as Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan is an actor to watch out for. He’s not been given his due and hopefully this film will make people take him more seriously as an actor.

The World War II backdrop is a veteran in Hollywood and Fury has more gore to offer than most such films that hit Indian shores. Realistic, with poignant moments, the film is a heartwarming tale of a lad who becomes a soldier and a sergeant who fought against all odds. That said, the film does slip into the usual syndrome of American nationalism and almost makes it seem like had it not been for the Americans, the war would not have been won. When the battle tale turned into a Jerry Bruckheimer film, I wouldn’t know. But it sure felt like it.

 

I would recommend that the movie be watched because it is a good watch undoubtedly. But it’s not a Saving Private Ryan or any other war classic that it is feverishly being made out to be.

 

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