Fury (2014)

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FURY—and then some, in a no-holds-barred WW2 combat actioner hit from 2014, written & directed by David Ayer, starring Brad Pitt. Tank fighting in Germany, 1945, with the hardened crew of the title vehicle surviving a clutch of gory and exciting fights, ultimately making an Alamo stand against a company of SS infantry.

Ayer gets across the same meld of performance intensity and dense visual immediacy that he brought to End Of Watch, with his cast delivering aces and amid technical bravura in the blistering action sequences.

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The final standoff stretches credibility almost as much as old war flicks like Sahara, but it’s unabashedly cinematic and by the time it kicks off you like the cast so much you roll galvanized with the excess (nonetheless, it was based on a real incident). There is one sequence, involving murder of a prisoner, that rings false (not that this stuff didn’t happen, but the circumstance here pushes the envelope).  For sure, Ayer’s viewpoint is unsparing, unsentimental, brutal and relentless. War is Hell, and it looks like this: filthy, visceral, degrading. Nothing is prettied up.  “Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”

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Sound and visual effects, editing, cinematography, props, sets and equipment, and a realistic bomb-ravaged look are all excellent.  Pitt is strong: his character was modeled on Sgt. Lafayette “War Daddy” Poole, who knocked out two hundred fifty eight German tanks.  Shia LeBeouf is better than he’s ever been.  Good work from Logan Lerman, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal.

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Produced at a relatively lean cost of $68,000,000, it drew critical praise (mostly for the acting and action, less so for the script) and box-office firepower, taking $212,000,000. Fast-paced 134 minutes, with Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood, Anamaria Marinca and Alicia von Rittberg.  Adding to the heightened sense of period accuracy, the movie features ten vintage Sherman M4 tanks, the workhorse of the Allied armor and ‘Tiger 131’, the only surviving operational Tiger tank, the last workable remnant of the fearsome Wehrmacht behemoths. Hit the deck….

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