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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel


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Film Reviews: Wild (2014) and Fury (2014)
Movies
stainsteelrat
Wild (2014). Based on the autobiography by Cheryl Strayed and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. Set in 1995 the film tells the story of Cheryl Strayed's (Reese Witherspoon) attempt to hike the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. Strayed has no hiking experience and ends up with a rucksack that's almost too heavy to carry. Initially she only manages to hike 5 miles a day, and is barely able to put up her tent. Wild is a grim tale. The central character's history is told in flashback - she is on the hike as a form of cleansing following a very difficult childhood, and then several difficult adult years. The hike isn't much easier as she encounters problem after problem. Therefore it's hard to say I enjoyed the film per se, but that's inevitably the case with these sorts of biographical tales. I wouldn't say I was entertained as such either, but it was an interesting insight into how terrible people's lives can be. Wild doesn't spoon-feed you with clear backstory, it can be a bit disjointed and vary in focus, but I didn't have a problem with that. Witherspoon is excellent and thoroughly convincing. Recommended for those who don't mind gritty and somewhat unrelenting biographical tales. 3/5 (Average)

Fury (2014). Written and directed by David Ayer. The film is set towards the end of the Second World War, when the Allies are making their push into Germany. The story follows a Sherman tank crew, who have just lost one of their team. The crew member is replaced by a rookie soldier. I have a couple of problems with Fury. Firstly, that it's fiction. Although apparently influenced from genuine stories around the time, why not tell one of those genuine stories? Secondly, there's several odd moments during the story which just don't seem to stack up with the characters. The climactic battle sequence in particular seems rather ludicrous, and more from an action film than a war dramatisation. To a lesser extent some of the battles are reminiscent of Star Wars with the number of tracer rounds. Unrealistic, but no doubt there to help the viewer understand what is going on. Technically the film seems OK, battle scenes etc. based on my very limited knowledge. For me it just about scraped entertaining. For those who don't mind a somewhat long unrealistic, unoriginal, and jingoistic war film you will probably enjoy it. 3/5 (Average)
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