Fury

This probably isn't the best movie to see the same weekend as The Book of Life, since it really was hard to switch gears and write this review. It doesn't help that I'm not entirely sure what to say about this one, either, since at times it was very good and at other times I found myself wondering why, exactly, they had put a particular scene in, as sometimes it seemed like they were just trying to be artsy or surreal or something.

It probably also doesn't help that the last time I noticed that Brad Pitt (World War Z) was in a World War II movie, it was a very odd comedy. Not that I watched that movie, because I couldn't bring myself to pay to see anything that had a title that was that badly misspelled. All right, yes, I reviewed The Pursuit of Happyness, but at least they acknowledged that it was spelled wrong and it wasn't directed by Quentin Tarantino, who sometimes alarms me.

Anyway, this is decidedly not a comedy, not even by Tarantino at his darkest. It's April 1945, and the Allied forces are moving slowly and painfully through Germany, which is resisting every inch of the way. Brad is Sergeant Collier, also known as Wardaddy, commanding the crew of the tank they've named Fury. There's Boyd (Shia LaBeouf, Lawless), aka Bible since he's very religious; Michael Peña, (Tower Heist) as Trini Garcia, aka Gordo, and Jon Bernthal (Shane from The Walking Dead) as Grady, who has a nickname that I'd rather not mention but thankfully doesn't get used often in the movie.

Then there's the new guy, Norman (Logan Lerman, Noah), who was trained as a clerk-typist, so naturally he's assigned to a tank crew when they need a replacement. His first job is to clean off the spot where he sits because the previous occupant left it in a bit of a mess -- not by choice, since he was very messily killed in action. The rest of the crew is about as glad to be stuck with Norman as he is to be stuck with them, which is to say not at all, but there's not much to be done about it. Collier alternates between making Norman do horrible things and being amazingly nice to him -- or at least I think he was being amazingly nice. I couldn't figure out what he was trying to do half the time, but the rest of the crew seems to think that he was being surprisingly nice, so I'll take their word for it.

Along with a few other tanks (with names like Old Phyllis and Murder, Inc.), our crew is sent out to hold a particular crossroads so the Germans can't get through. They have a pretty surreal trip along the way. Naturally lots of bad things happen, but there's also a very odd encounter with two German women (Irma and Emma, played by Anamaria Marinca and Alicia von Rittberg, respectively), which I think was supposed to help show how the crew interacted with each other but ended up making them all seem like they were extremely shell-shocked. Which, granted, they might easily have been, but I still think the whole interlude went wrong somewhere. Anamaria is Romanian, by the way, which of course means that she speaks German, because that's all the rage in Romania.

There's also an unintentionally funny part where the guy I had previously only seen fighting zombies asks Norman if he thinks he can raise the dead, but the movie certainly wasn't a complete disaster despite the uneven parts. Well, I guess in a way it was a disaster because of all the blood and death, but that's what they were going for. Brad Pitt is well within his comfort zone in the role of Wardaddy, so he does all right, and while Shia LaBeouf's mustache was vaguely disturbing at first, I eventually forgot about it. So I'll go with a solid four and a quarter out of five. If you can survive the tank-cleaning scene at the beginning you're all set -- they went for realism so it isn't for the weak of stomach. I hear that Shia LaBeouf also didn't shower during the filming, which may have been a bit too much realism for his fellow cast members.

Image: 
Fury's crew in a rare moment when they're not all harassing each other.

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