Sometimes I think we pressure war movies into being the next Saving Private Ryan. If you go back and watch Ryan, it’s clear that no war movie is going to be the next Saving Private Ryan. So we need to judge new war movies by different standards, rather than holding them up to that instant classic that pieced together all kinds of ideas about war and American manhood into one cohesive force. Fury has a lot in common with Ryan, but director David Ayer (the great cop movie End of Watch) is telling a fundamentally different story.
Ayer has demonstrated a knack for capturing the nuances in how men interact in his past movies, including Watch and his screenplay for Training Day, and Fury is in line with that sensibility. Logan Lerman is a green soldier originally assigned to a desk who is now thrown into the fire of war with the crew of a tank led by a grizzled Brad Pitt. The rest of the gang is filled out by Shia LaBeouf as the Bible thumper, Jon Bernthal as the wild card, and Michael Peña as what basically amounts to the dependable minority, all archetypes that wouldn’t hold up outside of the context of this one crew but that fill out Fury nicely thanks to Ayer’s ear for how men who live and die together talk to one another. Even when Fury‘s plot devolves into unlikely, only-in-the-movies feats of heroism, the strength in the characters’ relationships holds the movie’s other spare parts together.
(h/t One.Perfect.Shot for the pic)