Fury is unrelenting, but the best Hollywood WWII movie since Saving Private Ryan

Cast:

Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman

Director:

David Ayer

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Rating:

R16 (graphic violence and offensive language)

Running time:

134 mins

Verdict:

Unrelenting, but the best Hollywood WWII movie since Saving Private Ryan

Fury is a reminder that war movies should be a guilty pleasure. You shouldn't enjoy the carnage, but that's what movies were invented for.

The likes of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds - also starring Brad Pitt - managed to render the experience guilt-free because it was a movie built on the memories of so many other war movies and left the history stuff to those who still care.

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Fury is different.

Yes it is closer in historical reverence to Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, but Pitt's character outdoes his earlier basterd for grim brutality right from his opening scene.

Pitt is terrific in this, here looking more like a prettier Lee Marvin and sounding almost as tough as tank commander nicknamed "Wardaddy" whose crew have been with him since landing in Africa in 1942.

Now rumbling slowly towards der Fuehrer's Berlin bunker, they've acquired innocent newbie Norman (Lerman), straight from the battalion typing pool whose first job is to clean what's left of his predecessor's remains from inside the tank he's not actually trained to co-drive.

We watch the movie through young Norman's scared eyes, but hear the war outside the diesel-powered pillbox as a wonder in deafening sound design. It's a relentlessly intense experience, whether it's the tank of the title bashing through Rhineland shrubbery or the crew's unsettling encounter with the local civilians - many of whom have taken up Hitler's call to resist to the death.

That said, the movie suffers a few story stalls and contrivances. That includes an unsettling respite with some local frauleins. And should your tank hit a mine do you assume that was the only one left, so it's ok to leap out the front?

Also, The Wild Bunch madness of the finale does give this the videogame overkill the movie has spent so long avoiding.

Still, between the riveting earlier action scenes, writer-director Ayer and his cast offer a compelling study of Fury's sardined tank squad.

Their uneasy camaraderie feels as authentic as the gritty battlefield reality delivered throughout.

Yes war is hell (again), but Fury manages to its own special kind of hell. One hell of a tank movie it is too.

- TimeOut