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"Fury": Who Wouldn't Want to Spend Time in a Tank with Brad Pitt During a War? 

Tuesday, Oct 14 2014
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Conventional but rousing, Fury paints a bleak and brutal portrait of World War II combat through the turret of a battle-scarred American tank. In 1945 Germany, Staff Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) commands a squadron of men (Shia LaBeouf's devout "Bible," Michael Peña's boozy "Gordo," Jon Bernthal's animalistic "Coon-Ass") from one town to the next, where engagements with the enemy are sudden, harrowing, and vicious. Writer/director David Ayer's episodic drama focuses on Normal Ellison (Logan Lerman), an 18-year-old trained to be a typist who's assigned to be the tank's newest crew member. Collier proves to be a tough and rugged surrogate father figure for the innocent Ellison, who's forced to quickly learn that his circumstances are of a kill-or-be-killed variety. Ayer's character dynamics are far from novel but, thanks to a uniformly superb cast led by a commanding Pitt and shell-shocked Lerman, the rapport between his protagonists has a compelling genuineness to it, especially during a series of thrilling combat skirmishes in which the tank (dubbed "Fury") goes toe-to-toe with a giant German Panzer and, ultimately, an SS battalion. Bolstered by a grim visual palette and a sweeping, forlorn score, Fury keeps its Nazi villains faceless so as to better highlight the camaraderie and sacrifice of American soldiers, whose bonds of brotherhood are forged in the tight quarters of a vehicle that Ayer depicts as both a womb-like home and a hulking metal beast. Examining male solidarity and battlefield cruelty with an incisive eye, Ayers' film proves a gripping saga of what war requires men to do, and to become, in order to survive and triumph.

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Nick Schager

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