Director: David Ayers
Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Scott Eastwood, Jim Parrack, Michael Pena, Brad William Henke
Rated: R (strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout)
A grizzled tank commander makes tough decisions as he and his crew fight their way across Germany in April, 1945.
By Cole Schneider
Some war movies glorify violence; others are so soft on the gory realities of war that they lose their message entirely. “Fury” avoids both traps. The film, as it follows a believably written and well-acted crew, is a visceral experience. It is violent, gory, and unflinching in its representation of the final days of World War II, yet its purpose is never lost. The images on screen are horrifying in the way that they seem to exist as a standard. No one bats an eye when they witness an atrocity, they’ve seen it all too often.
The movie is a series of repeated actions. Over and over and in sly ways, the film is written such that we see two reactions to the same situation. One person feels for the enemy, another is comfortable with their death. One person takes a shot of alcohol, another person refuses. This setup delivers an astute, even heartfelt impact in the moment that ends the narrative when we see an alternative reaction to the very elemental nature of war itself. This conceit is powerful because of the two hours that lead up to it, because of the horrors our eyes and guts have consumed to that point.
It should be noted, however, that “Fury” falls short of greatness. Most anti-war movies struggle with dialogue, but because “Fury” is so blunt visually, the on-the-nose verbal messages are intensified. A film in equal parts about camaraderie, leadership, and the despair of war, it all begins to become undone with its religious heaviness. The screenplay is literally preaching at us at certain points. Still, “Fury” can be a WW2 film that balances gutty escapism with artful poignancy.
3.5 out of 5 stars
By Matt Greene
Fury is a blatant critique of war. While neither a bold or unique position to take, making WWII seem like more than just the justified good guys fighting the inhuman bad guys is no easy feat. Director Ayers has managed to really get into the heads of his characters, deftly showing the momentary boredom, the constant confusion and the incessant fear that come in battle. With a weighty and unglamorous bleakness, Fury stands out as a truly engaging and exciting look through the eyes of a soldier.
Ayers and his talented cast have gathered a compelling and fairly accurate collection of war-torn men. Our door into this group is Norman (a well-casted Lerman), a mouse-y new recruit completely out of his element. Without the use of extensive backstory or flashbacks, we are fully engulfed in his brain through heart-wrenchingly intense introductions. Led by a strong and assured Pitt, the camaraderie of the group of weary warriors is palpably honest, but not without moments of natural fun. Rampant with melodrama, the confusion of war almost warrants it. Thankfully these guys are not cookie-cutter Hollywood heroes, but real men, complimented beautifully by the “antagonistic” yet utterly human German soldiers. If anything these themes of the humanity within real war are lacking in subtlety, but it’s a point well-taken nonetheless.
Action wise, I never would’ve thought tank scenes could be so packed with heart-pounding intensity and exhilaration while staying deeply personal. It’s grimy and gory, but never to the point of inappropriate gratuity. So even in its slight downfalls of tropes and predictability, Fury is visceral and individual action-war filmmaking that delivers.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars