Theirs is the Fury

Everyone is talking about David Ayers’ new project Suicide Squad spreading rumors and guessing at casting. But let’s take a minute to look at Fury, Ayer’s World War II tank crew ode. The film is compelling, sad, and brings to life the true courage of those who worked in the tank squads.

During World War II the Axis’ tankers were far superior to those of the Allies. Most tank squad lasted about six weeks but the story follows a team that has been together for four years. When their gunner is killed, the position is filled by Norman Ellison, a military typist. He has not seen battle and is not used to the brutality. But working under “War Daddy” he quickly sees what the war really is: death and destruction. As the tanks move through the German landscape, Ellison bonds with his team and, when it comes to a final show down, they band together to hold off the Germans.

The cast works well together. Each actor takes their role and makes it their own. You’d never believe that they are the guy from Interview with the Vampire and the kid in Percy Jackson and the jackass from The Walking Dead. Brad Pitt, Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, and Michael Peña round out Fury’s squad and each one brings something to their role whether it is innocence, leadership or faith.

But is the realm of the movie that affects you. Ayer doesn’t shy away from the hard truth of war: violence and cruelty ran rampant. Soldiers on both sides committed offenses. You see the terror in their eyes. You realize how desperate the Allie was coming for soldiers near the end of the war. You see the struggles of having les advanced equipment. This is not a feel good movie but an ode to those who served.
I had some one tell me the movie was missing something. Not a lot of time is spent the men’s home lives. They don’t reminisce 1413227235_4much about their lives at home but pictures of their loved ones are clearly shown. This helps keep the story in the now and focusing on the present action. But the biggest thing missing is there is no happy conclusion at the end of the film. There is so write up about how the team managed to complete their task and win the war. This is because Fury is a fictional tale. Ayers used a composite of different stories about tank teams to create this one story. So while it doesn’t give you the kind of closure you expect from most war movies, it is still a brutal look at a different section of the military during WWII.

Overall, Fury is a moving film. It looks at the complex world of war with realism. You hate the characters and you love them. It helps us realize what people did to secure our freedom, something we often take for granted.

By the Book: Horns

Joe Hill is an amazing writer weaving unique tales of the macabre.  Through his various novels and comics, Hill has made a name for himself outside of being Stephen King’s son. It is no surprise that his materials have been made into a movie. The adaption of his novel Horns hit theater for Halloween but lacked the intricacies of the novel.

horns-book-coverThe movie follows the same basic premise. Ig’s girlfriend is killed and he is the prime suspect of her murder. The evidence neither clears nor condemns him but he must deal with a town that persecutes him anyway. One drunk, emotional night, Ig wakes up not remembering what he did the night before but finds horns growing on his head. These horns have the ability to make people tell him their darkness secrets, bringing out the devil inside them. The story follows Ig as he adapts to his new talent and as well as solves the mystery of his girlfriend’s murder.

The movie is enjoyable but never reaches its full potential. Unfortunately, Keith Bunin, the screen writer, decided that lots of changes needed to be made to Hill’s tale. The problems start immediately as the movie opens with gushy platitudes and fuzzy emotions that would never appear in Hill’s work. This continues to be a flaw throughout the film, each change softening the edges too far. And it’s not just the additions that hurt the film. Bunin chooses to cut vital information that leave major plot holes. Spoiler: the movie never explains how the horns came about.

Ironically, as most of the changes of the book are the movie’s down fall, the best scene actually does not take place in the book. horns_ver5_xxlgThe movie is at its height when Ig uses his powers to make paparazzi battle themselves to Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Personal Jesus.” This scene manages to define the theme the movie is trying (but never manages) to portray: revenge, though sweet, causes our downfall.

Daniel Radcliffe is the perfect Ig brining to life the description of the character from the book, and the character is pretty spot on. But most of the other characters are warped. Juno Temple’s Merrin is a travesty of the original character and I know the book version would have a few choice derogative terms for her portrayal. She’s not the only one changed. The brother becomes more melodramatic and the true villain is skewed from the start of the film. The characters needed none of these changes, and it detracts from the tale that Hill was actually trying to tell.

The movie is enjoyable if you haven’t read the book but I would never suggest it to you. Instead I would send you straight to the bookstore or library. Horns is a dish best severed in paper format.