**1/2 out of ****
Fury is a World War II film about the crew of a U.S.Sherman Tank making their way through Nazi Germany. It stars Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Shia LaBeouf and Jon Bernthal. The film is directed by David Ayer and like his End of Watch, it tends to have a rather confused voice. He likes to show us the life and work of tough guys from a perspective that is informed and mature at one moment, but then ridiculous and exploitative the next.
Fury may be an augmentation of Ayer’s strengths and weaknesses in one film. His cinematographer, Roman Vasyanov, goes for a comparatively grounded and rich aesthetic. The first shot of the film had my complete attention and respect. Some scenes, especially one set in the invaded home of a German woman, are full of the kind of lengthy awkward unpredictable tension you would expect to find in a John Cassavettes film. Most of the film’s acting is emotionally believable but there are a distracting amount of instances where contemporary language and modality feel very out-of-place for the nineteen-forties.
Some of the battle scenes are terrifyingly compelling, but they have the tendency to go overboard and the melodramatic score by Steven Price is no help. His contribution is a tacky contrast to such gritty and bleak material. I found myself wishing this movie had no music at all.
By the time it concluded with an unbelievable standoff and the stylized end credits were rolling, I knew that I’d been shown an idea of the nightmarish ugliness of war but I also felt as though I was exiting a deranged theme park ride.