Set in April 1945 when World War 2 was coming to an end and the allied forces were marching into Germany, Fury centres on a battle hardened tank crew, led by Pitt’s aptly monikered ‘Wardaddy’ and consisting of Lerman’s green as grass rookie, Leboeuf’s religious idealist, Pena’s dead shot gunner and Bernthal’s somewhat mentally unstable mechanic. In recent years films about World War 2 have been few and far between, with many not even seeing the inside of a cinema – notable exceptions are of course Tarantinos’s Inglorious Bastards and Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.
Now anyone who has seen both of these will know that they are pretty much at the opposite ends of the war movie spectrum -whereas Bastards was a violent “men on a mission” homage, played out like a jet black comedy/drama, Saving Private Ryan was at times an overly worthy effort notable for its incredibly realistic depiction of the Omaha beach landings.
Fury, however, is none of these and as such is likely to be one of the most accurate and unflinching depictions of war that you will ever see on screen.
Acting wise its faultless, in particular, Brad Pitt, who is superb as Wardaddy, brilliantly portraying him as an intelligent man tainted by war and unafraid to kill without mercy. Then there is ShiaLeboeuf, who effortlessly banishes all memories of Lars Von Trier’s risible Nymphomaniac, to deliver a career best performance that has to be seen to be believed -yes he really is that good (iknow i couldn’t believe it etheir!). The rest of the cast are equally impressive too -John Bernthal and Michael Pena do fantastic work and seem to have completely thrown themselves into their roles, with young Logan Lerman finally coming of age with an impressive breakout turn as Norman, the tank’s newest recruit.
David Ayer’s direction is surefooted, refreshingly economical and unflashy, his camerawork making excellent use of the Buckinghamshire countryside which doubles for 1945 Germany. Then there is the action – mainly consisting of two brutal edge of the seat tank battles and a climactic nail biting do or die fight to the death between the Fury crew and an entire army of Nazi soldiers.
Its not all guns and blood though – Ayer also skilfully brings in quieter moments allowing for some welcome character development for all the main cast, one scene in particular involving Pitt and Lerman sitting down for a meal with two German women is a particular highlight.
I did have a couple of niggles though , one being that Lerman’s character seems to go from terrified greenhorn to full on warrior mode in a very short space of time and the main characters do seem have more than a certain passing resemblance to those in Saving Private Ryan.
However these are minor criticisms in what is a very well directed, superbly written, brilliantly acted and relentlessly exciting film. Certainly a contender for one of 2014’s best and a must for any serious cinema goer. Highly recommended.
Author: Will Strong