David Ayer’s WWII Tank-A-Thon Shines In Its Thrilling (& Brutal) Action Sequences. Driving The Humanity Angle Proves A Battle All Its Own…
Set in April 1945 Germany as the Allies advance on the German Army, Fury takes centre stage as the name of an American Tank that’s been out in the war killing Nazi’s since North Africa some 3 years prior. The rowdy crew are led by ‘War Daddy’ Don (Brad Pitt – in a not so Aldo Rein persona), with a crew comprising ‘Bible’ Boyd (Shia LaBeouf), ‘Coon-Ass’ Grady (Jon Bernthal), ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Micheal Pena) and, when we meet them, a now deceased 2nd driver. When Norman (Logan Lerman), a military typist drafted into the war, is assigned to fill the place in the rag tag team he becomes our entry into this unit of men who’ve been in battle for near on 4 years.
David Ayers frequently brutal and consistently grim new film lends heavily from other, very notable, war and blockbuster films to make up his narrative as he tries to cast a human shadow on the nature of war. Comparisons to Saving Private Ryan and Patton come easy, especially in some of its more overt setups, but the film does have moments of real power and prowess. These moments come in the form of some of the most thrilling and engaging action sequences involving tanks ever filmed. The technical complexity of these battles are jaw dropping when you take a moment to think about how they staged them and Ayers, alongside cinematographer Roman Vasyanov (End Of Watch), ratchet up the tension by delivering real visceral sequences that will in turn have you jumping in your seat and sighing at the violence.
Ayers knows his trump cards are the action based sequences, and whilst he shines in these moments, he struggles in the quieter times. The character side of Fury is a mixed bag – some characters show some dynamic unpredictability yet others seem obligatory. Brad Pitt is serviceable as War Daddy, even with an arbitrary shirt off sequence and a wall of corny lines that any war film seems obligated to have but I couldn’t help but think if this role were in the hands of a Viggo Mortenson, Daniel Day Lewis, Liam Neeson or Kevin Costner I wonder where it could’ve gone. Aussie Xavier Samuel (Healing) pops up in a brief role with an almost flawless American accent. Logan Lerman’s Norman has a nice vulnerability, Bernthal and Pena deliver zest on their very macho sidekick roles but the real star of Fury is Shia LaBeouf. LaBeouf has never been better, exuding an intensity of wrought heartache of a man constantly on the brink of death and his presence is engaging throughout even in a supporting role.
Fury is an intense ride, with its true heart lying in Shia LaBeouf’s powerhouse performance and excelling in staging some of the fiercest war action scenes in memory. Be prepared for some graphic violence, those initiated to modern war movies will be fine, others might gasp at exploding heads. Those in it for something a little bit deeper might find it leaves you wanting but for all its carnage and craving, Fury is strongly rooted in its stylised realism.
FURY releases on THURSDAY OCTOBER 23, 2014 in AUSTRALIA through SONY PICTURES RELEASING