I went into this film thinking that it would be a realistic portrayal of war centred on the friendships created from a five man tank crew. I was wrong. This film is is heightened macho war film made for a Call of Duty audience that focuses on Norman, a young soldier who has to endure a tank trip with a bunch of American bullies. Yes the actors were good in their roles, played by Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Berthnal and Michael Pena but they are horrible people and completely unlikeable, apart from Logan Lerman's character, Norman, who you feel sorry for, but even his character by the end of the film is rushed into becoming a bit of douchebag like the rest of them.
Norman is forced to live with these people who pick on him and hit him and force him to do things, but only because 'they're keeping him and themselves alive'. I didn't buy it, they just came across as macho American bullies who I had no affection for. The script attempted to justify their behaviour, but the odd half hearted apology to poor Norman didn't work for me. These guys never came across as friends, more just like guys who had to put up with each other. There was no bonding and the brother's in arms attitude that comes in by the end of the film just feels forced.
There are some good scenes in the film, I particularly liked one that is set in house with two women, but again by the end it is flawed because Ayer writes every female character in this film as easy, and would happily sleep with his characters if they gave them food or showed any kind of affection towards them. This was Ayer's problem in Sabotage as well, the women were so badly written that they just all sounded the same.
The film itself looks great, the cinematography is very good and there are hardly any special effects, unfortunately this is let down by the writing and the storyline. The action looks good and is really well done but once you've seen one set piece then you've seen them all, it all got a bit boring by the end. And be warned, because of the use of tracers in the guns the action will sometimes look like the crew are fighting Hydra rather than The SS.
I know a lot of people liked this film, so feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!