Fury (2014): A Review by Jeff Turner
A Review by: Jeff Turner
Dir: David Ayer
Written by: David Ayer
Produced by: Colombia Pictures, LStar Capital, QED International
Starring: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Shia Labeouf, Michael Pena.
David Ayer’s END OF WATCH was one of the best films of 2012. I did not put it on my list of the best 10 films of the year, but I should have, it’s a great picture. Filled with a lot of emotional strength and incredible intensity. His follow-up, the World War II movie FURY is a strong film, and a worthy film, but not as good as his previous effort.
Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) has lost one of his soldiers, and is replaced by Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) a newbie soldier who was not initially trained for combat. Norman struggles to find his footing while Wardaddy tries to show him what the life of a soldier is really like.
You might notice some similarities to Steven Spielberg’s SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Brad Pitt is playing something akin to the Tom Hanks role in that movie and Logan Lerman is playing something closer to a mixture of the Edward Davies/Matt Damon roles. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as various genres use archetypes all the time, however I do think it hurts the realistic atmosphere that FURY is trying to set up.
One of the aspects of FURY that stands out are the supporting performances, Wardaddy and Norman are not alone in that tank; they are accompanied by Bible (Shia Labeouf), Coon-Ass (Jon Bernthal), and Gordo (Michael Pena), all three are quite good. The nice thing about these performances is that they feel organic, Labeouf, Bernthal, and Pena are all capable actors who rise to the challenge.
Part of what makes the performances work is the time these five people spend in the confined space of this tank, the setting offers an opportunity to get to feel the characters as real people, and it is contrasted well by the sudden nature of the film’s violence.
Which brings me to the action scenes. Ayer is just as capable an action director here as he was in END OF WATCH, crafting these battles with the certain sense of brutality that they demand. The fights come on very suddenly too, characters will be talking and then ‘boom!’, a German will fire a Grenade. This is not typically how build-up works but Ayer manages to make it effective, and keep the audience on edge.
FURY is an incredibly violent picture, it is also an emotional one, and a film that is capable of getting the viewer invested. For those who have liked War movies in the past, and even those who like action movies, the film offers a lot of great character moments, delivering a flawed experience but an ultimately satisfying one.
Suggestion: See it