Studio: Columbia Pictures (134 min.)
Plot: A battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank called Fury and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.
Cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal
Bottom Line: ***
By Samantha Ofole-Prince
David Ayer who says he defied the rules of Hollywood by remortgaging his home to finance his first feature “Harsh Times” has constantly delivered the drama. Whether it’s “Street Kings,” “End of Watch” or his latest offering “Fury,” he’s garnered acclaim for a provocative directorial style.
A vivid, violent but brilliant drama which highlights the misery of combat, “Fury” takes place in late-war Germany in 1945 and follows an embittered tank commander (Brad Pitt) whose responsibility is keeping his men alive.
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal, the events of this film occur over a 24 hour period as Pitt’s character Don “Wardaddy” Collier leads a tank crew into Germany in the last days of the Second World War.
At the start of the film, the crew has lost Red, one of their five members, and a new kid called Norman (Logan Lerman) is sent to join the crew. A trained typist thrust into war due to a shortage of soldiers, Norman, who has no tank experience has been sent to the front lines in the 2nd Armored Division, to serve as an assistant driver.
Soon he is learning about life on the frontlines and over the course of these 24 fateful hours, his training is tested as the men of the M4 Sherman tank nicknamed Fury -- Wardaddy (Pitt), the commander; Boyd Swan (LaBeouf), the gunner; Grady Travis (Bernthal), the loader; Trini Garcia (Peña) and Norman are forced to take on 300 enemy German troops in a desperate battle for survival.
“Norman is young and fresh and innocent and very unprepared for what’s happening and that makes him endearing, but it’s also the problem he must overcome,” says Ayer. “Wardaddy who is very no-nonsense, very practical and pragmatic just cares about getting the mission done and must break him of his innocence.”
An intense well-made World War II film that narrows its attention to the men in a specific operation, Ayer who is known for his gritty cop dramas has cobbled up a very authentic-looking war drama and worked closely with tactical and military advisers to get all the details right.
“It’s in the little things,” he says. “Even when somebody in the audience doesn’t understand what they’re seeing, when it’s right it all snaps together and matches the pictures that we’ve all seen in newsreels and on TV. That’s what I’m after.”
As he has already demonstrated in previous offerings, he doesn't spare the audience any shots of individuals with heads blown off, burning bodies and guts spilling out.
“Fury” may not pack the emotional punch of other war films, but it conveys the horror of war through gritty realism showing several battle scenes involving a diminishing troop of soldiers as they desperately try to further their advance.A visual spectacle, the message in this movie is simple: War may be hell but it makes for good drama.
This was printed in the November 2, 2014 - November 15, 2014 edition.