William Tecumseh Sherman once said “War is hell.”
The new film “Fury” effectively captures that quote – a brutal look inside the trenches of World War II that isn’t without its flaws but is still full of strong moments.
“Fury” takes place in the final days of the war, with a sergeant named Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) leading a tank squadron deep into enemy territory in Germany to help the Allies secure the territory.
His crew includes newcomer Norman (Logan Lerman from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), scripture-quoting Boyd (Shia LaBeouf), wingman Trini (Michael Pena), and career soldier Grady (Jon Bernthal).
“Fury” is at its best during the action sequences, deftly handled by director David Ayer – best known for “Training Day” and “End of Watch.” These scenes capture the chaos of the battle, evoking memories of the Normandy sequence in “Saving Private Ryan.”
The calm between the battles isn’t quite as effective, save for a sequence involving two German women (even that goes on a little too long). Fortunately, the actors help elevate the lulls, especially Pitt. Once considered just another pretty face, Pitt has grown into a solid character actor.
LaBeouf is a surprise as well, showing he still can do good work in the right situations.
“Fury” may not be up to the level of “Private Ryan,” but it is still a good entry that will satisfy fans of the genre.
DVD dandy of the week
This week’s dandy is “Snowpiercer” (A), the science fiction film for the art-house crowd and one of the year’s best films.
Set in a future society where the entire world is frozen after a botched climate-change experiment, “Snowpiercer” takes place on a train that constantly travels the globe with the last of the human race aboard.
Each car in the train represents a different rung in the class system. The lower-class people are living in the rear of the train, with each proceeding car representing a slightly higher class, all the way up to the elite in the front.
This has been the norm for years until one of the lower-class citizens, Curtis (Chris Evans), decides to revolt with a group of rebels determined to take control of the train.
Director Joon-ho Bong, who co-wrote the screenplay, has crafted a visually enthralling piece of work. There is a style to “Snowpiercer” that makes it truly original, while borrowing from other films in the science fiction genre.
But the biggest surprise is the film has just as much substance as style. There is a lot of biting social commentary here, giving “Snowpiercer” a dark comic edge I wasn’t expecting.
It all builds to a really satisfying wrap-up, including a surprise cameo that is a welcome sight.
“Snowpiercer” didn’t get a wide release when it came out over the summer, but it deserves to find an audience on home video. It’s well worth seeking out.
“Snowpiercer” is rated R for violence, language and drug content and is now available on DVD.