Thursday, October 30, 2014

Film Review: Fury

Copyright: Columbia Pictures
When you break it down, movies are here to provide us with a transient experience. For their duration, they are here to take us to a new place and present to us the things that are going on over there. The more sensations movies encompass, the better – on the simplest level, we see and hear things that are present on the screen. At its best, cinema allows us to feel things that are taking place over there.

Fury allowed me to experience a nauseating 130 minutes of World War II. During this time, I was completely transported to western Germany, where a tank crew is going through the last month of the war. Although it is clear that the Nazi Germany is sinking into the mud covered ground, elements of the SS are still refusing to lay down their arms.

The tank, called Fury, is led by Don Collier, an emotionally wrecked man and a perfect warrior. The rest of the crew also saw much action on two continents, and it shows. One day, their comrade is killed, and Norman, a trained clerk, comes to take its place, still fresh from boot camp. All along, the killing and the dying continues. Still, no matter what, Fury presses on.

During the film, I was competently oblivious of my personal feelings and thoughts. I just watched, often in horror, what happens to the crew of that single tank. I didn’t pass judgment on what I saw, or thought about what I would do in a similar situation. I didn’t have time to do any of that, because the sheer visceral feeling of a war where machine guns cut people like meat (how they are often referred  to in the film) and white phosphorus burns people alive.

David Ayer, who recently directed the solid End of Watch, now presents something incredible cruel, almost demonic in nature, but that is also at the same time completely understandable. He cleared the film of any grandeur which seeped into movies like Saving Private Ryan or at times overflowed in movies like Lone Survivor. Even when things seem to be heroic, we are quickly reminded that death in a war is never a thing of beauty. The same is reflected in the characters, especially Norman. He tries to remain human, but there is no point, he can only become what is needed or he can die. Other options are simply not there on those muddy, bloody fields.

There are several fantastic supporting roles in this film, and for the first time, I truly see the real, adult potential in Shia LaBeouf as the Bible quoting Boyd. He and Michael Peña produced amazing results, and I’m forecasting an Oscar nomination for one of these guys. I am certain that they both deserve it.

I am also certain that a lot of the film's impact will be drowned in the waves of historical accurateness,  and simultaneous accusations of American flag waving and unjustified slander of the US army. This is unfortunate because Fury movie transcends any controversial issue like the killing of POW by the US forces. In war, Fury tells us, we are both the meat grinder and the meat. But I managed to extrapolate that only later on.

During the film, I just witnessed it, and that is what makes this movie a masterpiece. Watch the movie Fury and feel the horror that is war.