Director: David Ayer
Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Michael Pena, Logan Lerman
Running Time: 134 Minutes
Extras: Blood Brothers, Director’s Combat Journal, Armoured Warriors: The Real Men Inside the Shermans, Taming the Beast: How to Drive, Fire & Shoot Inside a 30 Ton Tank, Deleted and Extended Scenes.
With the films END OF WATCH, SABOTAGE and the Academy Award-winning TRAINING DAY (DARK BLUE, STREET KINGS and HARSH TIMES also noted), David Ayer has crafted a series of brilliantly layered, American crime-themed, impactful street warfare flicks, intent on shocking and running its viewer through the proverbial mill. Employing a gung-ho, significantly unique shooting style with his directorial efforts, Ayer also makes us sit up and take note with underlying political messages combined with streams of in-your-face bloody movie violence. It is no surprise that the filmmaker has chosen to focus his attention on FURY, an action-drama set during the dying days of World War II.
The aforementioned said action, positions us in the fields of war torn Nazi Germany in 1945, aboard the mighty Sherman tank ‘Fury,’ headed up by Brad Pitt’s seasoned veteran Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier. With him are his band of brothers in The Walking Dead alumni Jon Bernthal (as the interestingly nicknamed Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis), Shia LaBeouf’s gunner Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan, END OF WATCH star Michael Pena as driver Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia, and newcomer to the team Logan Lerman, who portrays the wet-behind-the-ears new boy, assistant driver Norman Ellison. The team are engaged in a series of missions, led by an under-used Jason Isaacs, taking over town after town behind enemy lines against all of the odds, facing into the remainder of the waning German army who field last ditch attempts to stop them.
As with Spielberg’s SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, FURY is a tough watch, purely because of the graphic levels of violence on display from the outset. While not going quite as far as that other Brad Pitt led WWII movie from Tarantino, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, FURY doesn’t hold back on the realism of those bloody days of battle on the front line. Ayer draws from real-life accounts of the day for his story, and despite the above statement in regards to the strong violence, he never enters the realms of gratuity, though at the same time we’re not reeling from the true horror on show as we did with Spielberg’s masterpiece fron the late nineties. Ayer’s direction is, as we’re coming to expect, extremely solid and his script tight with the lengthy running time never becoming a problem. The success of it all working must come down to the last 45-minutes and the huge set piece in the final reel; a truly intense watch and a masterful piece of filmmaking.
The cast, particularly the five members at the forefront on the story, are excellent, with stand-outs from Bernthal and the young actor Logan Lerman, in easily his grittiest role to date. Pitt himself is solid, though as a viewer your’re almost expecting him to drop in a few lines with that iconic Southern drawl as he did in ‘BASTERDS’ as the brilliant Lt. Aldo Raine. The characters are indeed very, very similar, though here more humility is shown, particularly in the scenes involving Lerman’s character, and how the two of them bond over the running time.
In all, I liked FURY and it is clear to see that David Ayer is emerging to be quite an exciting filmmaker. It will be interesting to see how he’ll go about interpreting DC’s SUICIDE SQUAD next year, and what self-written original projects he will tackle after that. He is proving to be one of the most interesting filmmakers working out of Hollywood at the moment that can assemble an original, commercially viable motion picture, while at the same time retaining the quality, and delivering an end product that critics applaud as well.
[usr=4] FURY is available on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK from Monday 23rd February, 2015.