Director: (2016) BBFC cert: 15
This head bangingly dull melodrama is a poor advert for author Phillip Roth from whose novel it’s adapted. The flat lead performances, self-obsessed characters and clunky direction make for a very testing experience.
As is so often the case in literary adaptions, the presence of a voice over is an early indicator of the ineffective transition from page to screen which follows.
Marcus is a working-class Jewish student who dodges the 1951 Korean war army draft by enrolling in a prestigious Ohio college. Refusing to socialise with his peers he obsesses over the beautiful Olivia, an outwardly confident soul from a wealthy family. Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon are a handsome couple but can’t find a way to make their characters sympathetic.
The only memorable scene is a lengthy interrogation by the Dean. This is a character whom we’re supposed to reject for his persecution of Marcus, but instead embrace for his patience, charm and humour. It’s an enjoyably human performance by Tracy Letts.
The cyclical script explores how society applies brutal punishments to those who challenge conformity. After enduring two hours of this wearying philosophising, I was was more than justified in my own indignation.
Director: David Ayer (2014)
Hollywood big gun Brad Pitt rolls into action as a battle-hardened tank commander in this mud and guts war epic that takes no prisoners.
Engineered to a familiar and straight-forward narrative, US army Private Norman (Logan Lerman) is sent straight from basic training to the frontline as the Second World War draws to a bloody conclusion.
Despite being a uniformed clerk, recent losses mean he has to join a Sherman tank unit under the merciless leadership of Sergeant “Wardaddy” Collier (Pitt).
Pitt is a trusted father figure to the crew who have been with him since the North African campaign and include mechanic Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan – a barely recognisable Shia LaBeouf, plus driver ‘Gordo’ (Michael Pena) and gunner ‘Coon-Ass’ (Jon Bernthal).
Struggling to adapt to his close-knit and de-sensitised comrades, the raw recruit is pounded as their tank – nicknamed Fury – rumbles into a series of battles as they cross the muddy fields of Nazi Germany.
Bravery is matched by savagery as soldiers are blown up, burnt, decapitated, shot and stabbed. There’s a brief and tense period of R&R in a small town where liberation comes at a very personal price for the local women.
Then Wardaddy leads a convoy that encounters a militarily superior enemy Tiger tank and only the Fury survives to continue the mission to the ferocious finale.
Riveted together with excellent acting and direction, the phenomenal fight sequences leave you battered and bruised. Macho down to its army boots, this brilliant and brutal war movie that magnificently depicts war as hell.