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Review: Fury

Copyright: Columbia Pictures

Stylish cinematography and a muscled performance from Brad Pitt are not enough to make David Ayers Fury feel any different to just another war movie.

Set when the allied forces have come to finish off a withering Nazi Germany, Fury follows a Sherman tank and its 5 man crew led by sergeant Don Wardaddy Collier (Pitt) as they embark on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. Though very much a Brad Pitt vehicle, the real star of Fury comes in cinematographer Roman Vasyonov who constructs a murky assault on the senses that for 136 minutes, does not relent. It’s a shame then, that for all its atmosphere and mood, Fury never succeeds in escaping the box and doing something new. The ‘war is hell’ imagery, and constant lashings of violence become numbing, and the visuals are lost on a plot that has more than a tendency to meander, as well as a penchant for seeing things that you could swear you saw in a war movie of the past 50 years. It is not that Fury is poor in its execution of gun fights and gung-ho’s, it’s just what it is trying to execute has been seen time and time again in war movies of old.

There are however scenes in Fury that are genuinely striking, and it is surprising that most of them come from the parts where the crew are not firing bullets. The scene in which Collier comes across a group of German women who he assumes are hiding a Nazi in their house – in what becomes a beautifully composed sequence of events – is shot with tenderness and scored with delicacy.

As one would expect with a Brad Pitt led vehicle, the movie star remains very much centre stage throughout the film, unfortunately it comes at the cost of developing the other characters. This is not to say Pitt strays from delivering a routine solid performance, but the rest of the cast are left empty as a result of Colliers’ constant character building. Logan Lerman’s Ellison and Jon Bernthal’s ‘coon-ass’ Travis fulfill the roles of generic American soldiers whilst Michael Pēna’s ‘Gordo’ Garcia has an interesting dynamic as a Mexican which the script flirts with exploring, but never quite goes further than the occasional comment. For all his public antics, and now confirmed rumours of a fight with Pitt on set, Shia LaBeouf turns in a puzzlingly vapid performance considering the actors new found desire to become something of a renaissance man.

Fury is by no means a bad film, it is just when compared to a recent war movie such as Restrepo (2009), it doesn’t pack quite the same punch of grounded plot balanced with style and flair. Like the greys and washed out colours of the film itself, Fury is likely to fade into the background in years to come.