‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Fury is brutal, bloody and at times hard to watch. It’s also flawed, a bit long and, at times, silly. Thankfully the good outweighs the bad at you are left with a shocking portrayal of a mostly unheralded part of World War 2.
Best Bit: Battle Scenes
Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Rent
If You Liked this Try: Saving private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Kajaki
Set in April 1945 when World War 2 was coming to an end and the allied forces were marching into Germany, Fury centres on a battle hardened tank crew, led by Pitt’s aptly monikered ‘Wardaddy’ and consisting of Lerman’s green as grass rookie, Leboeuf’s religious idealist, Pena’s dead shot gunner and Bernthal’s somewhat mentally unstable mechanic. In recent years films about World War 2 have been few and far between, with many not even seeing the inside of a cinema – notable exceptions are of course Tarantinos’s Inglorious Bastards and Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.
Now anyone who has seen both of these will know that they are pretty much at the opposite ends of the war movie spectrum -whereas Bastards was a violent “men on a mission” homage, played out like a jet black comedy/drama, Saving Private Ryan was at times an overly worthy effort notable for its incredibly realistic depiction of the Omaha beach landings.
Fury, however, is none of these and as such is likely to be one of the most accurate and unflinching depictions of war that you will ever see on screen.
Acting wise its faultless, in particular, Brad Pitt, who is superb as Wardaddy, brilliantly portraying him as an intelligent man tainted by war and unafraid to kill without mercy. Then there is ShiaLeboeuf, who effortlessly banishes all memories of Lars Von Trier’s risible Nymphomaniac, to deliver a career best performance that has to be seen to be believed -yes he really is that good (iknow i couldn’t believe it etheir!). The rest of the cast are equally impressive too -John Bernthal and Michael Pena do fantastic work and seem to have completely thrown themselves into their roles, with young Logan Lerman finally coming of age with an impressive breakout turn as Norman, the tank’s newest recruit.
David Ayer’s direction is surefooted, refreshingly economical and unflashy, his camerawork making excellent use of the Buckinghamshire countryside which doubles for 1945 Germany. Then there is the action – mainly consisting of two brutal edge of the seat tank battles and a climactic nail biting do or die fight to the death between the Fury crew and an entire army of Nazi soldiers.
Its not all guns and blood though – Ayer also skilfully brings in quieter moments allowing for some welcome character development for all the main cast, one scene in particular involving Pitt and Lerman sitting down for a meal with two German women is a particular highlight.
I did have a couple of niggles though , one being that Lerman’s character seems to go from terrified greenhorn to full on warrior mode in a very short space of time and the main characters do seem have more than a certain passing resemblance to those in Saving Private Ryan.
However these are minor criticisms in what is a very well directed, superbly written, brilliantly acted and relentlessly exciting film. Certainly a contender for one of 2014’s best and a must for any serious cinema goer. Highly recommended.
The Review: Displeased at the way mankind has treated the Earth and itself, the Creator (i.e. God)decides to wipe out humanity by covering the world in a huge flood. However, not wanting to punish the innocent, He tasks Noah (Russell Crowe) with saving the animals by building a gigantic Ark to escape the oncoming deluge. Meanwhile, the evil King Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) is plotting to kill Noah and hijack the Ark for himself and his armies.
Directed by Darren Aronofski (Black Swan), and co starring Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson, Noah is a very odd beast indeed. I say odd mainly due to the fact that it seems to be many different movies all rolled into one, being by turns part religious epic, part drama and part action adventure. Indeed, by rights this film shouldn’t work at all – it features glowing swords, weird landscapes, six limbed stone angels and tackles a genre that has been hitherto untapped since the days of Cecil B DeMille. Plus lets not forget that the last big budget disaster film featuring an oceanic apocalypse was Water World (1995) and look what happened to that!
However in the hands of the highly talented Aronofski, Noah does work extremely well and proves to be a highly enjoyable and superbly made film.
Beautifully photographed, with outstanding visual effects, Aronofski skilfully creates a desolate old testament world, filled with death, sin and the ravages of humanity. When it comes, the flood itself is a wonder to behold and is unflinching in its devastation – one particular standout scene has Noah and his family safely ensconced in the Ark, whilst forced to hear the dying screams of the thousands caught in Gods watery punishment.
In addition its very action packed, and especially fascinating in its depiction of creation and the fall of man to original sin.
All the main cast are universally excellent. Crowe gives his best performance since Cinderella Man, depicting Noah as a solid man of action, plagued by doubts but willing to sacrifice everything – even his family –to carry out the Creators plan. Jennifer Connelly is equally good as Noah’s wife Naameh, Anthony Hopkins brings gravitas to proceedings as Methuselah, Ray Winstone is his usual superb self as Tubal-Cain and Emma Watson is an absolute standout in the role of Ila –Noah’s adopted daughter.
Without doubt though this would have all been for naught without the talents of Darren Aronofski. Any other director would have messed this film up but with Aronofski’s steady hand and intelligent visual flair, what could have been a critical and commercial flop of biblical proportions turns out to be the total and complete opposite.
An absolutely cracking film that in years to come may well be regarded as a modern classic. Highly recommended.