April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, battle-hardened army sergeant Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with rookie soldier Nornan (Logan Lerman) thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
Review by Louise Keller:
Ideals are peaceful; history is violent, says Brad Pitt's Wardaddy in this heavy artillery slice of life film in which the vibrations of the incessant gun battles resound through every bone in our body. David Ayer's film succeeds in creating a claustrophobic mood, prising us into the Sherman tank in 1945 Germany with its melting pot of tension and mix of personalities within the 4-man crew, although the characterisations might have been better described. The dialogue might have been easier to understand, too. It's a boys own film, a tense war drama in which Pitt is the main drawcard as his character heroically and tirelessly leads and inspires the men in their endless quest.
'We're not here for right or wrong; we're here to kill them,' Wardaddy says of the Nazis. Our view of this tough, grimy world surrounded by mud comes through the eyes of Logan Lerman's young protagonist, a 60 word a minute clerk named Norman Ellison, recruited against his will into active battle and whose journey goes from zero to hero. When we meet Norman, he is a quivering wreck, unable to come to terms with the notion of using a gun or killing anyone. He soon learns that it is either kill or be killed. There is no sugar coating on the harsh life lessons that Wardaddy offers.
The scene in which Wardaddy forces Norman to kill a SS Officer is highly confrontational. By comparison, the sequence in which Wardaddy encourages Norman to lose his virginity to Emma (Alicia von Rittberg), a beautiful young girl they encounter in a war-torn town, and whose palm professes she will have one love in her life, is bittersweet. A whole gamut of emotions takes place in this sequence, changing dramatically when the other members of the crew arrive: fear, desire, uncertainty. The diversity of the personalities and backgrounds of crew members is reinforced in this edgy scene.
The sense of camaraderie shared within the tank is another matter; it's an interesting mix and Ayer places great importance on the dynamic between them. 'This is the best job I ever had,' is a line we often hear. Additional to Pitt and Lerman are Michael Pena, Shia LaBoeuf, Jon Bernthal. They all contribute greatly.
Fury is a gritty, realistic war drama that emphases the horrors, futility and devastation of war only too well. It is almost like being there.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Unavoidable comparisons with Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan have to be tempered with several provisos, notably that the comparison is most apt in terms of filmmaking style, not story. The immersive battle scenes, decorated with tracer bullets are the most reminiscent images, but there is also an echo of the loss of innocence in battle, the cruelty of men at war and the easy off switch of morality.
The film's impact is partly explained by the heavy artillery aimed at our sensibilities, not just our eardrums, and the almost careless narrative, which only glues together in the final, extended, extraordinary sequence best described as Wardaddy's Last Stand. Wardaddy is Brad Pitt, whose battle worn features, hideously scarred back, care for his team with hard nosed, no-nonsense soldiering, provide the justification for his name. Pitt is pitiless in his hatred of the enemy, who he has fought everywhere from Africa to Belgium to Germany itself.
Brilliantly supported by Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal and Logan Lerman as the typist clerk assigned to Wardaddy's tank unit, like a lamb to slaughter, Pitt does what he can, with a crew cut and an unemotional demeanour, occasionally softened in close up by inner reflection. It's not a real character, more an imagined soldier with his decency reserved for scenes where he has to show up his raucus, unruly team of lads.
All those attributes aside, the film strikes me as being not only derivative, with predictable encounters and the usual menu of character tensions, but also manipulative and at times shallow. Annoyingly, it also suffers from what seems to be current Hollywood sound mixing fashion - you know, the one which obliterates most of the dialogue through a combination of mumbled, accented speech of the characters and cowboy sound mixers who like to ride the M&E tracks in favour of (bass-heavy) dialogue.
There is impressive cinematic craftsmanship, though, with outstanding cinematography, music and design, and if not exhausted by it, audiences will be at least partly satisfied - whether they heard what was said or not.
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CAST: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal
PRODUCER: David Ayer, Bill Block, John Lesher, Ethan Smith
DIRECTOR: David Ayer
SCRIPT: David Ayer
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roman Vasyanov
EDITOR: Jay Cassidy, Dody Dorn
MUSIC: Steven Price
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrew Menzies
RUNNING TIME: 134 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 23, 2014