2014 war movie

Rating: 14/20

Plot: Some brave men fight some other brave men with a tank and some of the other brave men have tanks and some of them don't but they all have guns and a desire to kill one another because that's what war is all about.

War movies generally aren't my bag because like Smokey, I'm a pacifist. But I was reminded that this was supposed to be pretty good when noting that Suicide Squad director David Ayer helmed it, and I was in the mood to see Shooby LeBoof do his thing. It's a War-Is-Hell stew of a movie with all the ingredients you'd expect to see in a War-Is-Hell stew movie--brutal violence, bravado, machismo, tough talk, motherfuckers, military circle jerking, good old boys, grease, spit, blood, sweat, tears, explosions, general ugliness, shocking deaths, tense sitting around, a big score, a fair share of Jesus, weapon fetishism, wasted youth, and naturally, hellish imagery. Ayer concocts this stew and then grabs the back of his viewers' heads and shoves faces right in there, screaming, "War! Huh! Good god, y'all!"

The characters are stock characters. You've got a greenhorn, a Bible thumper, an irritable dullard, a foreign guy, and Brad Pitt's typical brand of stoicism. They get themselves filthy and then pretty much do everything anybody would expect them to. They're anti-heroes at times and scared kids at other times, and their enemies are, for the most part, completely faceless. Pitt kind of sleepwalks through the role, but LeBoof really stands out as that Bible thumper. Apparently, he didn't shower, pulled out his own tooth, and repeatedly cut his face to add some realism to the character and the character's experience. It worked because I could actually smell him through my television screen, so way to go, Shooby. I also liked Jon Bernthal's good as a character named Coon-Ass. Either he's actually good or I just wanted a reason to type Coon-Ass.

Ayer wanted a film that faithfully reconstructs the WWII experience, and I wouldn't know if he succeeded or not because I've never been in a war at all. The tank ballistics looked like Stormtrooper blaster shots to me, and the characters' language didn't feel all that authentic. But I'm far from an expert on that sort of thing. The claustrophobia of tank life and the anxiety of knowing that a tree could start shooting at you at any moment has an authenticity though. All in all, it's not a bad war movie though I'm not sure there's anything new here. I did really enjoy the closing credits, however.

By the way, imdb tells me that LeBoof became a Christian during the shooting of this movie. Here's what he had to say: "I found God during Fury. I became a Christian man, and not in a fucking bullshit way--in a very real way. I could have just said the prayers that were on the page, but . . . it's a full-blown exchange of heart, a surrender of control."

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