Fury | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


This drama about a WWII tank crew is competently acted, but predictable and hamfisted

click to enlarge Into battle with Wardaddy (Brad Pitt)
Into battle with "Wardaddy" (Brad Pitt)

One thing to like about Fury: Unlike every second movie these days, this World War II film doesn't claim to be "based on a true story." But while being a fiction might promise plenty of room for insight, Fury adds little to our understanding of World War II, or of war in general.

David Ayer's film follows a battle-hardened American army sergeant nicknamed "Wardaddy" (Brad Pitt) as he leads his five-man Sherman tank crew through the last days of the war, all deep in Nazi territory. If he's a little bit Ahab — a scarred survivor, fanatic for killing Germans — our Ishmael is Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a greenhorn intimidated nearly as much by his grizzled fellow soldiers as by the Nazis.

Fury (that's the tank's name) is competently acted, the battle scenes gripping enough, the glimpses of gore sufficiently harrowing. But as written and directed by Ayer (who scripted Training Day), this is really a male-bonding film, and it's filled with familiar characters (the Bible-quoter, the redneck mother) and predictable character arcs. Worst of all, though, is the soundtrack, whose swelling choruses and valorizing grandiosity leaves no emotion uncued. It's as hamfisted as anything we'd expect from a "true story."

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