If you’re a fan of epic war films Fury may not be on your list of ones to watch. However, if you don’t necessarily have a love for the war film, this could be the one to break that wall down. David (Training Day) Ayer’s Fury is an accessible war movie for the masses. Stylistically shot and with a haunting score, Ayer’s film is more like a dramatic action then your conventional war film. Not everyone will appreciate Fury for what it is – an entertaining and rather moving piece of cinema, that just happens to be about soldiers in the war. When I say, happens to be about soldiers in the war, I mean that this film doesn’t explore what has happened outside of the day, night and morning we are granted access too, and the film is a character piece rather than a war movie of epic proportions.
Set just before the end of the Second World War (1945, in-case your history isn’t the best) the film centers around five American soldiers, four of whom have been fighting since before Germany, one, Logan Lerman (in his best role to date) is a newcomer to these veterans, and completely out of his depth. Brad Pitt as “War daddy” (staff sergeant to his tank troops), Shia LaBeouf as “Bible” (an emotional and sympathetic man), Jon Bernthal as the peculiarly named “Coon-Ass” (hardened by what he’s seen) and finally, Michael Pena as Gordo, an apparent ladies man, are the ensemble cast we are blessed with being able to watch together, and the chemistry is pretty magnificent. As these troops battle through the day against the SS, they share with us moments of laughter, tears and even brutality. Through all of this two shine; LaBeouf and Lerman. Both men look beyond broken by what they have seen, and both have hopes that they will survive the hell they have been transported too. Labeouf steal’s a scene or two here, even without saying a word; its the look on his face that propels the viewer to feel the utmost heartbreak for the situation he’s in. Lerman channels his youth well in the role of Norman, successfully balancing charisma and morbidity. In a scene where you could hear a pin drop (one of the most awkward, yet strangely humorous scenes I’ve seen in film) its the group as a whole that come together as one, bouncing off of each other in both anger and respect. Pitt leads the troop, but not the cast as one might expect. While he can pretty much bring life to any role he’s in, Pitt resembles his character Aldo Raine, while his “War Daddy” was expected to be a character completely original to anyone he’s played before. This comparison isn’t the worst thing, Raine was a likeable character and the standard soldier stereotype. And in a film full of war cliches, Pitt’s “Daddy” isn’t out of place.
The scenes of battle are shot well, filmed from both the perspective of the allies and the enemy, and the feeling of never knowing where the narrative will go next was a rather enjoyable element. The finale, filmed at night, looks fantastic (fire blazes around the troops as they take on 200+ soldiers, the juxtaposition of the orange and black was well thought-out and is a great looking moment), and represents the importance of friendship and strength amongst men (que one or two tears). The banter between the soldiers adds a light humor at the times its most needed, and Pitt has his moments of glory when he sits alone, clearly haunted by what it is he’s had to do to survive (while morality is never questioned obviously, these men are visibly affected by their own actions). It may not be the best example of a war film to come out of recent years, but its slick and really rather cool.