On Saturday I went and saw the WW2 movie Fury with a friend and wanted to post a quick review about it even though I am a terrible WW2 historian and haven’t seen any of the movies. So instead of an actual review, here are 5 quick thoughts:
1.) It is a very violent movie. If you normally avert your eyes during bloody parts, this movie isn’t for you. In the book I’m reading now, the vets who wrote it said that after a bomb came in, they would have to look for the victims’ body parts in nearby trees and bushes, they would be that blown apart. This movie … basically showed that. I have been told that Saving Private Ryan* is gorier and even more realistic, but I haven’t seen that movie. I’m a bad history major.
2.) I enjoyed the attention to detail in props/costuming. Brad Pitt’s badges all looked like he had sewn the badges on himself. The other main character, Norman, wore a GI sweater through the entire movie and I noticed myself trying to figure out the stitch pattern. I really enjoyed seeing the mechanics of the tank warfare – the process of loading, priming, firing, etc. The space was so confined it was hard to get a sense of internal geography of the machine, like how the characters’ compartments fit together. In the scene where the tank runs over the body in the mud, the only thing distinctive thing about the body are the hobnails in the boots. Oh, and at one of the final really super dramatic scenes, I noted the German grenades and was so pleased with myself that the scene totally lost it’s emotional impact.**
3.) Acting. Is it just me who thinks Brad Pitt is just a little overrated? I mean, he was fine as the Sergeant and made his character believable and everything, but it’s almost the exact same role he had in Troy. If he isn’t overrated then he’s got a lot of similar roles. I thought Shia LaBouf had the best acting out of the whole ensemble. He was barely recognizable.
4.) I left the theater being very happy about the film. Then I went online and read all sorts of reviews, from official to unofficial to the reviews on IMDB. The users who rated the movie lower than 4 stars left scathing reviews that I found to be quite educational. They also raised several points that had occurred to me during the movie that I refuse to let destroy my initial impressions. (The landmine, the cast’s age, the final shot of the movie, formulaic ending, the final fight, the “hero effect”***, weak character development, etc). The random fact I learned is that there is exactly one working Tiger tank currently in existence and it was used in this film. So … not sure where I stand on the film.
5.) Interesting thought –> many reviewers have complained about the final scene (the tank surrounded by bodies), terrible dialogue and one-dimensional characters. What if the movie was actually supposed to be from the tank’s perspective? It’s an odd thought but it makes the final scene make much more sense. I am wondering if Fury is supposed to be something like Warhorse, which is a war film but told from the horse’s perspective. What if Fury is more about the tank and less about the crew so the final shot is actually the dead hero (the tank) surrounded by all the damage she did on her way out? (Are tanks personified with the feminine?) It would be something like Boromir at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring. Hm, interesting theory.
Conclusion: I think I need to see it again. I still have a lot of questions.
*Wait, Matt Damon is the titular Private Ryan?! I need to get with the program.
** American grenades are shaped like baseballs because American kids probably know how to throw baseballs. German grenades are shaped like plow handles because German kids probably know farm equipment better. All this according to the SS reenactor of several weeks ago.
*** The hero effect: where the outnumbered/gunned hero team faces incredible odds and the bad guys somehow don’t gain the upper hand despite firing giant rockets at point blank range at 6 metres and still missing the target so the good guys (the hero) gets to fight on.