Fury is a tough movie filled with tough characters in tough situations. David Ayer’s film manages to achieve the near impossible by being a hard-hitting drama that shows the harsh realities of World War II and a visceral action film.
Brad Pitt leads an impressive cast as ‘Wardaddy’ the commander of a commandeered Sherman tank (named Fury) rolling through a war-torn Germany in the dying days of WWII. Under him is ‘Bible’ (Shia LaBeouf), ‘Gordo’ (Michael Pena) and ‘Coon-Ass’ (Jon Bernthal), the tough as nails crew who trust him with their lives. The team takes on a new member, Norman (Logan Lerman), a young typist who has been drafted to the front.
This is Brad Pitt’s second go-around in a WWII movie, having previously starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds but David Ayer’s film is a different beast entirely. Tarantino’s film was a comic book look at the war, while Fury looks at how it affects the men fighting. It’s these character moments that add to the film’s rich texture as we learn about how the men face each day knowing that it could be their last. Pitt sells these quiet moments (the finest comes at Fury’s mid-point), showing that he continues to grow as an actor and implying that some of his best work may still be ahead of him.
Fury’s supporting cast impresses in potentially cliche-ridden roles with Shia Labeouf and Logan Lerman being the stand-outs. LaBeouf is good as ‘Bible’ the religious nut of the team. It shows the he does have the necessary acting chops and all he needs to do is control his public image to get his career in order. Lerman manages to hit some interesting notes as the naive young soldier who sees what life is like on the front. Again it’s a role that we’ve seen before but Ayer’s material adds a new accent to the familiar.
Tension undercuts Fury like the slow rumble of a tank through a deserted battlefield. We know that these men are living on borrowed time as we watch their friends and comrades die around them. The war may be nearing its end but the German’s aren’t giving up without a fight. Ayer shoots them as a faceless enemy, only finding time to linger when they’re young children who have been offered up as sacrifices to Hitler’s rancid regime.
Fury covers a lot of familiar ground but Ayer filters in through his trademark grit. You can smell the oil and taste the mud of this world and it’s dark and bloody. It’s a world that has the potential for hope but the crew of Fury may not live long enough to see it.
The DVD of Fury comes with a short documentary. It might be brief but it crams in a lot of information and chats with the cast and director David Ayer.