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Friday
Jun272014

Yes No Maybe So: Fury

Behold, a glorious poster for Fury, the forthcoming war drama (opening in November) starring Brad Pitt and assorted thespians of the male gender. If the movie is great (a big if) this is the kind of poster that would become iconic. It's almost mythic already, what with the perfect but unexpected composition, evocative mood, stormy color and the title painted on the tank's gun. 

The trailer also came out this week so let's break that down with our Yes No Maybe So system after the jump...

YES
• Well it looks classy. Or as classy as you can look when you're covered in mud and talking non-stop about killing. By which I mean it looks like a serious war drama and not a 'rah-rah, let's kill' drama
• The opening moments play like an early Oscar FYC for Cinematography. The DP is Roman Vasyanov who previously lensed Ayer's End of Watch as well as the moody thriller The East. But his earlier feature, the colorful Russian musical Hipsters (see it if you get a chance!) suggests he has a lot of range.
• You could probably do a "best shot" episode just from the trailer - unless they included most of the great images already.
• The editor is Dody Dorn who is very good at sustained tension and action setpieces (think T2: Judgment Day, Memento... or even the second act of Australia)
End of Watch, writer/director David Ayer's previous feature, was surprisingly good given its exceedingly familiar genre and suggests he has a deft touch when it comes to directing male camarederie, you are there crises, and heroism under pressure. All of those skills will serve him well here.
• ♥ Brad Pitt. Always have. And characters with memorable names on screen like "Wardaddy" win any movie bonus points. Pitt is aging so well, so much gravitas onscreen. It's like he barely has to do anything anymore to convey.


• And then there's the supporting cast. They're all fine actors, especially Michael Peña who really needs to get the attention his co-stars usually get. Regarding LaBeouf: you can be troubled/crazy and still basically good at your job. I just hope he gets it together before we get really bad news one morning, if you know what I mean.
• "Deals are peaceful. History is violent" / "best job I ever had" potentially memorable / quotable dialogue

NO
• This movie looks serious. Which is a good thing. Unless it's super self serious, which it might well be. 
• War dramas often have confusing muddled and troubling politics, not just in 'what it means to be a man' (zzzz) which is primally reduced to Real Men Kill Superbly  (Rambo, Braveheart, thousands more) or the less common but similar curveball Real Men Are Brutally Killed Spectacularly Like Martyrs For Their Country (Lone Survivor, 300). Even anti-war dramas often dwell so long on their gruesome moments it's like they're a recovering addict ditching their sobriety. Can this movie find that balance between conveying violence and heroism without revelling in violence and sadism?

MAYBE SO
• Logan Lerman looks to have the key role since he's nervous/hesitant about killing (what's his arc like?) and he's also younger and prettier and the audience surrogate as the outsider to the 'family' inside that tank. He also appears to have at least a cameo love interest. Will he stick out like a sore thumb in ways that go beyond that his character sticks out?
• How is this going to compare to other war dramas that worked wonders with claustrophic settings like submarines (Das Boot, 1981) or tanks like this one (Lebanon, 2009). Will it really convey the interior of the tank or be focused on the action outside of it. Tricky balance for action scenes. 

What do you think of it... Oscar contender? Yes No or Maybe So and for which parts?
Tell us in the comments 

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Reader Comments (33)

Best haircut?

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I'm a maybe so. Not overly fond of war movies but I am a Brad Pitt fan and it does look visually striking so perhaps by the time it comes out I'll be a yes.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I love how people complained about the very few slave movies there are, but lets bring on more WW2 movies and Holocaust movies. RIGHT.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterM82

"Pitt is aging so well, so much gravitas onscreen. It's like he barely has to do anything anymore to convey."

Okay, hold up hold up hold up hold up. I'm sorry but - did we all see 12 Years a Slave?

Did we all see the vacuum of gravitas that befell the closing act? It completely unbalanced the film. The ego trip aspect - 'and here is the executive producer in the role of Saviour' - only added to the bad taste.

I'll admit that Pitt has never been *that* out of his depth in any other movie (few actors have /snark). But - outside of a few passages in Moneyball and Tree of Life (e.g. that phone call scene) - I've never seen him convey gravitas as effortlessly as, say, Redford or Newman. There's a lot of straining there - always - and his dialogue delivery is very verry fussy.

It's entirely possible that he barely has to do anything to convey things. But that's hard to judge because unfortunately he always chooses to do, on average, 4 things too much.

He's a prime example - Johnny Depp being an even primer one - of a movie star who wouldn't get a tenth of the roles he's getting if he actually had to audition for them.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergoran

@ Regarding LaBeouf: you can be troubled/crazy and still basically good at your job. I just hope he gets it together before we get really bad news one morning, if you know what I mean.

I've thought about this. I wouldn't be surprised if one day he gets really self destructive and offs himself or gets killed in a freak accident. I hope none of that happens; I think he's really talented and seems very sweet and smart (if intense) in interviews. He must have alot of demons inside him, I just hope gets rid of 'em before it's too late. Doesn't he have a nice girlfriend now or something (Mia Goth whom he met while shooting Nymphomaniac.) that can take care of him?

About the trailer: as always, I'm a YES, because I see EVERYTHING (except children's movies)

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

Yes. Mostly because of Michael Pena and Logan Lerman, and David Ayer (End of Watch was terrific, and very underrated.). Brad Pitt is starting to suffer from the Clooney problem. He's Brad Pitt in every role and it's hard to overlook his Brad Pitt-ness.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Brad Pitt's 'Brad Pitt hair' is really distracting.

But Pitt, LaBeouf, Lerman, Pena and Bernthal? Mmmmm...

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Mai

A film that looks beautifully shot and has Logan Lerman in the key role? That's all I need for a YES.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

@Goran: I agree, the Brad-Pitt-saving-the-day-scene in 12 Years Of Slave was in bad taste, pulled me out of the picture entirely.

Brad Pitt's not a good actor--- he was good in Se7en, allowing himself to play someone who was out of his depth, not very bright, compared to Detective Somerset--- that was bold for a young actor, to let go his vanity like that.

He was actually quite good in 12 Monkeys, too.

But mostly he's got a limited range, his turns in Babel and MoneyBall are exceptions, I've no idea how he reached those emotional heights. Great directors?

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

Hate that haircut that he has been sporting for quite a while now...Never
been a Pitt fan except for his scene stealing way back to Thelma
& Louise.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Brad Pitt's best work is in character roles. I consider his leading role in Fight Club to be a character role. Because Tyler Durden was beyond the realm of playing someone subtle and behind the eyes acting wise.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I'm a Maybe So. Love the cast, yes including Shia, but the movie doesn't seem that grea to me.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Hahahaha - look at all these 'Brad Pitt is not a good actor' comments. Okay, people...

Also - Ayer's last film was actually that shitty (by which I mean awesome) looking Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie Sabotage - people forget so quickly...

As for Fury, I'm a big yes because of the imagery, the general vibe of the trailer, Pitt, Lerman, and the fact that it's about tanks in WWII, which is a fascinating historical subset and one that has been underutilized in war movies lo the past 50 years.

My only reservation is in the broad outlines of the story as conveyed here - it seems like it's another last stand, five guys agains the world type of story, and you know that Brad Pitt, in that scenario, will be the savior/martyr figure. Between World War Z and 12 Years a Slave and maybe this, Brad should be mindful of casting himself in savior/martyr roles too many times in a row before he gets into serious Will Smith/Tom Cruise territory.

Still, this looks great, and I'll be there with bells on.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I'm always skeptical about Brad Pitt's acting and often pleasantly surprised (since Fight Club), so maybe so. War movies are also hit-or-miss for me as a moviegoer.

And Shia irks.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I think this may be our Best Picture frontrunner. There is always a was movie BP every decade.

(How many WWII costumes Anna B. Sheppard will make in her whole life?)

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

@M82 - could not agree more. I've been thinking that exact same thing for a long time now.

This movie looks...okay? Mildly interesting? I'll probably only see it if it's a big Oscar nominee and I'm motivated to be a completist. Movies in general are underwhelming me this year.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Frankly, it looks boring. I'm a maybe so, but will probably watch it if it gets good reviews.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim

This is a NO. Not enough "actressing" for my taste.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCristhian

I'm a maybe. On the Yes side is Brad Pitt, a strong dramatic arc (serious war movie is a plus for me) and an excess of testosterone (sue me). On the No side is a nearly monochromatic palette (based on the trailer) and an absence of meaningful women (I'm bisexual, I like testosterone AND women).

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

I'm with Roark. Note how every other person has a favorite Brad Pitt, despite him being a "poor actor"? BP all the way.

On that note, I'm SO over WWII.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBD

That is a DAMN fine trailer. Masterfully constructed.

But I'm still a Maybe So. It's just not my thing. I am much closer to a Yes than I was before though.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

BD: Everyone with a pulse has a "favorite" Brad Pitt...

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Gravitas is not the word that comes to mind when thinking of Pitt. He's not a great actor but has gotten better over the years. He's best when he embraces his undeniable movie star charisma. It looks like he's that in this.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

War movies are my least favorite genre. The ones I truly love--Bridge On the River Kwai, Letters From Iwo Jima, The Hurt Locker--do not fit easily into that traditional mold. As a starstruck kid, I loved the poster for A Bridget Too Far promoing that unbelievable cast, one of the best ever.

That said, the trailer looks intriguing and Pitt just may have his best role yet. I'm a maybe.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I'm a Yes. I'm a woman, and I really like war movie. Cast looks great, and Pitt looks good in it. Lerman is also an interesting up and comer - he was great as a kid in 3:10 to Yuma, I'd like to see what he can do in this kind of a movie (Percy Jackson doesn't count). I don't care whether it's historically accurate or not - it's a movie, not a documentary.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaysie

brad pitt is a great actor

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermass

Yes

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I'm a maybe.

Man it would have a lot to live up to if compared to Das Boot though. I finally caught that on Netflix and holy mother of god did so many scenes fill me with anxiety (in the best cinematic way).

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmes

And it also has that hunk son of eastwood.
I'm a yes for brad pitt, who grows older to be sexier.
But I'm a total No for labeouf! Arrested in a cabaret broadway show is way too much for him now.

June 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

Full yes on account of writer/director. Loved End of Watch, one of my favorites that year and been looking forward to the follow up. Considering Pitt's taste in picking scripts, it makes even more optimistic. I hope this one delivers the goods!

June 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

End of Watch was so much better than I expected. I'm not the biggest Training Day fan, but obviously that was a while ago. This looks fantastic. Can't wait.

June 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

i'm not familiar with logan lerman but he's so young and pretty during his introduction i was momentarily convinced this was she's the man joins the army

June 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Unlike Inglourious Basterds, Fury actually has a very impressive cast of Jewish actors playing soldiers (Jason Isaacs, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, and Cajun-Jewish mix Shia LaBeouf). They should have used this cast for that film.

July 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOle

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