***** out of 5
Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Article first published as Movie Review: ‘Fury’ (2014) on Blogcritics.
War films just aren’t my cup of tea. There, I said it. I know — just
like every other genre — they all basically play out the same. Lots of
heroism and flag waving, there’s just not a lot of character development
floating around to make you really care for the characters. It’s more
directors just wanting to make you root for “’Murica.” So it’s nice when
one comes along that finally treats you to some characterization
instead of just pitting a bunch of soldiers against a common enemy. In
the case of writer/director David Ayer’s Fury, there’s more human drama than usual, making the turmoil even more devastating as the finale approaches.
April 1945 with the end of World War II near. We meet our ragtag group
of soldiers — Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), Boyd “Bible” Swan
(Shia LeBeouf), Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena), and Grady
“Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) — suffering from cabin fever inside
their beloved tank “Fury,” with one of their gunmen dead. As the final
push into Nazi Germany commences, clerk typist Norman Ellison (Logan
Lerman) is forced onto the battlefield under Collier’s command. Now,
Norman is thrust into action having never so much as held a gun, and the
2nd Armored Division heads into enemy territory to make a final stand against Hitler’s regime.
The less you know about what happens in Fury, the better.
Although, the trailer makes what happens in the big finale seem like
it’s the majority of the film. Yes, the tank does break down with the SS
fast approaching and the men take a stand, but there’s a whole lot more
going on. Lerman continues to prove he’s more capable than some of his
lesser roles and the whole crew show real camaraderie. Even LeBeouf is
likeable — now that’s saying something.
gives all of the men character development, something lacking from most
war films. And he never skimps on the gory details of war. Upon Norman
joining the troop, he finds a piece of someone’s face inside the tank,
and plenty of heads pop like zits as they’re run over by tanks. There’s
also a surprising amount of humor, keeping the plot from getting too
grisly. Ayer also makes fantastic use of his cinematographer (Roman
Vasyanov) always ensuring you can see what’s going on — for better and
There’s even a moment of sweetness with Collier and Norman taking
refuge in a house with two women, Irma (Anamaria Marinca) and Emma
(Alicia von Rittberg). But even that features one of the film’s most
intense scenes involving boiling dinner table conversation. Pitt
continues to prove he’s one of our best leading men. And Fury winds up being another frontrunner in the fall season when Oscar-bait films start taking over from the summer blockbusters. Fury is a spectacular piece of war film art, with real emotion and top-notch acting, making it one of the year’s best films.
Photos courtesy Columbia Pictures