Cinematic Releases: Fury

Brad Pitt stars in this week's big release, Fury.

"I'm always out front cause
I'm better looking. So what?"
Fury may feel like just another World War II movie, but it's lead by an excellent ensemble performance, hauntingly scored, and loaded with tightly knit action.

If it weren't for the perfect casting choices, and equally astute performances from each player, Fury otherwise doesn't do a whole lot that you haven't seen before in several other great war films. Indeed, Fury is laced with exceptional qualities. The production design is caked with impressive grime and grit. You will be reminded constantly of the shocking unfairness of war. You will both hate and love each of these impeccably performed characters. Maybe that's all this story is: a reminder of how much the universe doesn't favor you, especially when you're at war. Bad things happen to people that don't deserve it and you are forced to move on or get your head blown off along with your friend.

Fury is certainly a must see this year, even if not a spectacular war film when compared to the greats of the past. Still, it remains one of the best films of the year despite the story not having a particular objective for the audience to follow. Expect to be taken through chaos, peace, and ripped right back again with no remorse or purpose. Expect an epic war tale and you'll be let down. This is a very simple, very basic war film. It is not exceptional, but it is damn well put together and performed.

The whole of the story can be summed up with a scene that could go on to become iconic for the genre. A particular dinner scene and potent dialogue between the crew of the titular tank, Fury, courses with a hot, sharp reminder that their ability to enjoy any peace was forever cut from them. It is here where we get a bitter showcase for the heart of the film and a space for the actors to flex their characters. Apart from the taut action, this is probably the best scene in the entire film and there isn't a single bullet fired.

"Hell hath no FURY like
a Shia scorned."
Though probably billed as a war drama, Fury is as much a great drama as it is an intense action film. Its two hour and fifteen minute run-time is brisk. The action and exposition are balanced through careful editing. Somehow, editors Jay Cassidy and Dody Dorn manage to display the battle scenes with a digestible chaos. Through all the explosions, screaming, and dying, you're never confused even when your blood is pumping and your eyes are racing all over the screen.

Technically, Fury is an Oscar contender for sure. The score, the sound design, production, and editing are all at the top of American film making this year. It would be a shock if it weren't nominated for one of them. Steve Price's score, in particular, is nearly horrific in its approach—which it should be. There is rarely a serene note to be heard with haunting strings and subtle dissonant choirs ominously lurking through most of the scenes.

Surely, Fury is one of the best of 2014, but keep your expectations in check. There are a minor few unbelievable, somewhat cheesy moments, and it's by the numbers as far as war films go. The production, otherwise, in every regard is tip-top. If you want action, you'll get it. If you want drama, it's even better. It's also not afraid to make the audience laugh, but it will tear the rug out from under you in the best ways. See this movie in a theater. Your eyes and ears will thank you.

-J.G. Barnes