Year: 2014
Studio: Columbia
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman, Shia LeBeouf, Michael Peña, Xavier Samuel, Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood

There are modern effects and sensibilities in this movie but it's a very old style Hollywood war movie – you only have to look at how many rounds it takes to bring down one of the good guys when even a graze by a bullet will drop one of the villains.

Despite the grit, mud and blood the movie makes liberal and excellent use of, there's a Golden Era sheen to the war-weary hero Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) even through eyes that have seen too much – he's a very traditional John Wayne archetype with his ragtag band of tank crew grunts.

It's the closing days of the Second World War and tank squadrons like Wardaddy's are crisscrossing a smashed Europe mopping up the last few Nazi platoons that are holding out in fields, woods and ruined towns and will hold onto their positions more desperately than ever. As Wardaddy says in his trailer and poster-worthy line, war never ends quietly.

We learn about the violent end of war, tanks and everything else through the expositionary newbie (Logan Lerman) as he meets his new squadmates and is taught to kill in a particularly brutal scene before they presently join the fight.

Writer/director David Ayer, known for filmmaking that really captures the texture and grime of urban decay thanks to movies like Training Day and End of Watch, brings his signature aesthetic to an environment that really suits it, and even though the story and characters are a little more traditional than the film would lead you to believe when you're watching it, it looks and moves very well.

But even though he has a great command of action scenes and the story works such as it is, there's a bizarre midsection where some of the guys hole up in the house of two German girls to eat, rest and make merry. It seems to be just a respite from the constant despair and death, but it's one of those strange scenes that goes on so long you think it's pivotal to the story even though it doesn't really achieve anything narratively.

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