Starring: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Jim Parrack, Brad William Henke, Jason Issacs, Xavier Samuel, Scott Eastwood
Directed By: David Ayer
Yes, the same David Ayer that made Sabotage. This was infinitely better than Sabotage. Although, we do need a lesson in “payoff”, but we will get to that later. I saw this after my “Year End” lists were made, and honestly, it would have made my Top 50… but not my Top 10, and none of these performances stood out enough. Logan Lerman really isn’t even acting. I like him, he’s a good kid, but he has to remain in his wheelhouse. I’ve seen him twice thrown into films this year where he just doesn’t fit. He was terrible in Noah, and he’s inappropriate here too. There’s something about his unwillingness to find a character that bugs me. It’s always “Logan Lerman” in the role, and never the character written. Pitt delivers an actual performance, as do the rest of the cast. In fact, Shia Labeouf is acting his freaking face off. This is probably his best acting to date. He completely disappears into his role. Jon Bernthal, also, acting his face off. Logan Lerman? He looks like he just woke up out of bed, walked onto set, and started reading the lines he memorized last night.
I can’t let Lerman ruin Fury though. The film itself is actually really good, in spite of him. Everyone else is hitting on all cylinders, and the film moves at a decent pace (for the most part). I might get a little spoilery here… but we do need to discuss the balance of “build up” and “payoff”. First, hitting us with the imagery of that dudes face being blown off and Lerman finding it was shocking, but in all the ways a war movie should be shocking. The incredibly long scene where Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman spend brunch with two German ladies feels like it’s never going to stop. The scene felt like it would go on forever, almost like there was an unwillingness to move the plot forward. I actually get why we needed that scene, but you really only needed part of it. I think it was at least a 10 minute scene, and really it could have stopped before the rest of the team joined them. The thing is, the only “payoff” from that scene is Lerman’s reactions to the “aftermath” (trying not to spoil too much). There isn’t really a payoff to having the other three guys come upstairs and join brunch. I guess the idea was to show that not everything is sunshine and rainbows in the Fury tank, but that scene slowed the whole movie down to a screeching halt.
If you take that scene out of the equation, and Lerman, the rest of Fury is pretty great. I definitely have a new appreciation for Labeouf as a real actor, who actually tries to get into his character. However, I do have some real concerns about Logan Lerman, and whether or not he is actually capable of a deeper level of acting. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a “bad” actor. When used in modern set films, he does fine. I never have a problem with him in a film set in “current time and day”. But when he has to do a period film? Or a character study? There’s nothing there. It’s the same Logan Lerman. Range. He doesn’t have it.
FINAL GRADE: B