WRITTEN BY: David Ayer
DIRECTED BY: David Ayer
STARRING: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, John Bernthal
RATING: 4 stars
Fury is not just another glorified war film. This is a film of substance, emotion and humanity. There is a lot of gory violence with graphic images of body parts being blown up, to the point that squeamish viewers may need to look away a few times. But Fury is never gratuitous. The film depicts the confronting aspects of war on the frontline, including all the mud and filth that goes with it. The protagonists have fascinating character arcs with each starting and ending the film at different emotional points. There is the young and inexperienced man who is horrified at the thought of killing anyone, the hardened fighters who suppress their overwhelming feelings by drinking, and the rugged leader who carries the burden with the utmost bravery. Fury is essentially about the unbreakable brotherhood between five men confined in the small space of a tank - and that is worth spending money to see.
Written and directed by David Ayer, Fury is set in Germany in 1945. Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) commands a tank on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. The team is out-numbered and out-gunned by the Nazis. To make matters worse, they are joined by a rookie soldier named Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) who is unprepared for war.
Pitt has always been wise in his film choices, and in recent years, he has become even more fussy about the roles he takes on. Fury is obviously a film he felt needed to be made, since he is also an executive producer for the film, and his performance is fantastic. His character is tough and strong, but he is also sentimental and kind. It is his job to teach his team about the harsh realities of war. When he takes off his shirt in one scene, we see his back is covered in scars. It would have been great to learn even more about the character's background.
Lerman is very impressive playing a character who develops more than any other. It is a real coming of age story for him and he has some amazing moments such as the confronting scene in which Wardaddy demands that he shoot an SS soldier. Shia LaBeouf is emotive and it is easy to forget his real life dramas when he gives such a solid performance on screen as the Bible-quoting soldier. Michael Pena provides some much-needed laughs to lighten the mood but his is also a complex character. John Bernthal is the most debauched of the team, but even his character garners some sympathy. The actors all have great chemistry together and while that is depicted strongly in the many tight tank scenes, it is also memorably shown in an intense and drawn-out dining scene where so much about their individual personalities is revealed.
Fury is about the loss of innocence and the depravity of what people can do to each other in a battle for survival. As Wardaddy says in the film: “Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.”