Sunday, 26 October 2014

Film Review: Fury

April 1945 - the Allied Forces are slowly winning the war against the Germans, inching closer to Berlin with every passing day. 

Through the quiet hedgerows or Germany, the crew of a battle-hardened Sherman tank continue the fight against innumerable odds - lead by their grizzled commander 'Wardaddy' (Brad Pitt), they must dig deep to fight the courage to survive on the mud-soaked battlefields.

Fury is harsh and uncompromising look at the Second World War from director David Ayer (Sabotage, End of Watch). It stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman and Jason Isaacs as the crew of an Allied Forces tank deep in the heart of wartorn Germany. Surrounded by enemies every step of the way, they must advance towards the frontline, confronting both the enemy and their own sense of humanity.

Where Fury succeeds is in depicting the no-holes barred horrors of war - we see this first hand, from inside the claustrophobic interior of the tank. Ayer doesn't shy away from showing the audience the dark and desperate spectacle that is the battlefield, from bullet-torn limbs ripped into the air, to fiery, still-screaming soldiers shooting themselves in the head to end it all. It's visceral, indelible imagery that will leave you contemplating the true cost of war and conflict.

In terms of acting talent, Fury has an impressive quintet of actors reporting for duty. Pitt gets top billing as Wardaddy, the crew's solemn and sometimes uncompromising leader. His performance was good, and his character was interesting complex and layered, rather than your run-of-the-mill two-dimensional GI. Through Pitt's performance, we see how his character struggles with his tough brand of leadership, and is repeatedly shocked and appalled by the horror of war but powerless to prevent it.

The star of the show is wide-eyed recruit Norman, played in earnest by Logan Lerman. Lerman is an actor on the rise, as we've seen through his past work in The Perks of Being A Wallflower and Noah. If you take nothing else from Fury, understand that this is one of his best films yet, and his performance is the best things about the film - shaky, teary-eyed and compassionate, Lerman personifies the horror and despair the audience feels for the war.

Jon Bernthal gets lumped with another unlikeable douchebag role, sort of like his role as Shane in The Walking Dead, except dialled up to 11.

Whilst Fury may look incredible, there are some elements that detract from the overall experience. For me, I felt that the narrative was poorly paced and lacked structure. Much like its iron-clad subject matter, the film just rumbles along, chugging from one brutal skirmish to the next.

It doesn't feel like there is an end-goal, or overarching direction. Simply a series of battles that showcase the humanity (or lack thereof) of our heroes. This makes for a 135-minute runtime that feels infinitely longer.

I also thought that any attempt the film made at 'saying something' was lost beneath the fiery action and grim colour palette. Shia LaBeouf and Brad Pitt's characters share some Bible teachings now and again, and this informs the audience of their moral standpoint on war, but other than funnelling the characters past gruesome death after gruesome death, Fury has very little to say other than "war is hell".

Complaints aside, Fury is still a film that feels essential - the subject matter and the way Ayer approaches it gives the film a sense of authenticity and importance to experience, as it comments upon the brutual, uncaring battlefield. Much like 12 Years a Slave, this isn't a film that you enjoy, but one you appreciate for its bravery.

The Verdict: 6.5/10

Fury is a brutal, uncompromising look at the Second World War, populated with gut-punching action and gorgeous cinematography. If only these elements had been supported by a more structured narrative and clear purpose.


  1. Nice review. I wasn't personally opposed to the film's direction, though I can agree that the pacing was a little off, particularly when they had that scene at breakfast. That entire scenario did kinda drag just a bit.

    1. Thanks Chris :) That scene you mention did seem to go on for a long time, but I though it added a lot to Lerman and Pitt's characters. But yeah, it could have been cut down a lot.

  2. Great review! Bernthal plays a good douche though. lol. I wanted to punch him several times.

    1. Thanks Brittani. Whilst he does get lumped with the douche role all the time, he's certainly good at it :D

  3. "Fury has very little to say other than "war is hell"." So agree with this. The film is too one-sided. And I agree with you there is nothing like an end-goal of this movie. It's more like fragments of war compiled into one film.

    First time on your blog! Thanks for visiting mine. Already added you on my blogroll :)



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