This is not a popcorn movie. It was advertised as one and it was most certainly not. Ladies and gentlemen, this right here is a thinking man’s movie, and a great one at that.
Directed and written by David Ayer, Fury clocks at 135 minutes. Ayer is also responsible for 2012’s critically acclaimed End of Watch. Starring an ensemble cast of Brad Pitt, Shia LeBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal, Fury follows the journey of the crew of the tank Fury during the final push into Germany in April of 1945. Aside from Logan Lerman as Private Norman, you never actually hear their names unless the characters are mumbling or uttering the word fuck, so I’ll just be calling them by their actor’s names.
First on the menu is cinematography. It is an absolute given that cinematographer Roman Vasyanov will be winning his first Academy Award for his work on this film. From the opening in the deserted battlefield through each and every claustrophobic moment in the titular tank, ending at the final scene after all is said and done. With the washed out color pallets setting it straight that this isn’t your standard Hollywood war film, Mr. Vasyanov crafted an emotional tour de force that will be remembered for many years to come.
The soundtrack, on the other hand, was not nearly as impressive. It’s equal parts Ominous Latin Chanting and string instruments repeating the same low notes over and over again. The soundtrack, while fitting in broad strokes, was bland and uninspired. Composer Steven Price completely dropped the ball on this, and while the cinematography will win awards, the soundtrack is a black mark on this film.Another issue with this film is a wonderful little invention called tracer bullets. Tracer Ammunition, as it’s called, are standard bullets with a small pyrotechnic charge that causes a trail of light to blaze behind them. They’re incredibly useful for aiming, since you can see the path of your bullet.
They also look like lasers from Star Wars.
Now, the thing is, not only are tracer bullets real, they were actually used in World War Two, at least for tanks. And this movie is holding on so tightly to maintaining accuracy, that it shows characters using tracer bullets.
So when you see any battle in this movie, it looks like everybody is using laser guns. Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a case of Aluminum Christmas Trees. You see, back in the 1960s, aluminum Christmas trees were actually a thing. Nobody nowadays would believe that they were a thing, but they were. And the problem here is that while using these aluminum Christmas trees makes the movie more accurate to the time period, it ironically takes the viewer out of the film because it’s not believable.
Which leads into another point I have. In almost every scene, whenever somebody is killed, the damage done is realistic. People have their heads blown off, their skin melts when they’re lit on fire. The movie is rated R for a reason, and it isn’t just because they say “fuck” a lot.
Every scene except one. One scene, where two german grenades are dropped right beside a dying man. And later, when the protagonists come back to see that man, there is absolutely no damage done to the body.
Now, while we at Popcorn Flicks aren’t experts on weaponry, it is our general conception that when you drop two grenades right beside a person, when you come back there will not be anything left to look at.
There’s also the part where an SS battalion rush a tank head-on. You know, instead of having a sniper set up from a distance, and pick off the guys in the tank. Or using any of your armaments to blow up the tank.
On the Allied side, by the time of April 1945, the Allies ruled the skies. There is no way in hell an SS battalion could possibly march through Germany in contested territory without Allied planes finding them and bombing the everlasting shit out of them. You wouldn’t need to call them in with the radio that Sergeant Brad Pitt said was “conveniently” broken, which in itself is an absolute sin of plot convenience to create a last stand situation.
The main problem with all these examples, is that the movie only accurate when it isn’t important to the plot. Either it’s so accurate that it’s unbelievable, or it’s so ludicrous that it’s unbelievable. A lot of the time the movie finds that happy medium of believable, but good moments never make much of an impression lined up with the bad ones.
Finally, there’s the issue of the main cast. For the majority of the film, you might actually find the German soldiers more sympathetic than the American soldiers, and that’s because the majority of the American soldiers are rapists, murderers, thieves and war criminals. This isn’t actually a bad thing. It’s the entire point of the film. No matter how justified war might be, we need to consider what the hell it’s turning men into. And we need to consider whether that price is worth it.
If you decide to watch this film, don’t be mistaken. There will be a lot of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, and that’s the point. This movie isn’t supposed to instill patriotism or sate the modern viewer’s blood lust, like a normal popcorn flick. It’s supposed to make you question why you’re even watching these kinds of films. It’s the perfect antithesis to Inglorious Basterds. It’s exactly what I meant by a popcorn movie and a thinking movie intersecting in last week’s review of Blade Runner. This is a very good film. The complaints you read above was mere nitpicking since this movie has very little wrong with it, if anything at all.
To sum it up: If you could only see one movie this year, it needs to be Fury. It’s worth the twenty-dollar ticket, and it’s worth the Oscar that Brad Pitt will be holding up high for all the world to see.