Fury (2014) – Review

Directed by David Ayer
Written by David Ayer
Starring Brad Pitt, Shia Leboeuf, Logan Lerman ,Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal
April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the 
heart of Nazi Germany.

Was it ever thus, but life for Brad Pitt right now seems pretty good. Doting father and husband to a fiercely beautiful, intelligent and driven wife, he is quickly approaching the time of his life when he can confidently be expected to be named as an upcoming elder statesman of Hollywood, having survived the onslaught of celebrity existence, living in the glare that show business thrusts upon only the most very successful of its industry.

The time only seems right then for the gruffer half of Brangelina to star in something that nods to a sagely considered story, a suitable sense of gravitas and an appreciation for humanity in all of its grisly and grubby detail. And as ‘Wardaddy’, he proudly rolls into battle here as a fully-fledged American hero, caked with the muck of real fighting and the stench of ugly, unceremonious death filling his nostrils.
Far removed from the art of war, David Ayers’ Fury places the viewer so closely next to the action that you almost smell the grease, feel the grind of the gears and see the grime under your own fingernails, most likely due to the proximity of a large portion of the film taking place in the enclosed confines of Wardaddy’s tank, as he commands a crew of five soldiers on an incursion into Nazi territory towards the end of the second world war in 1945.
In a first act that deceptively lures the viewer into believing that this may be a view of war in the vein of Band of Brothers, or even Saving Private Ryan, this fails to really materialise into anything more emotionally substantial. War is grim, this much we already understood, and David Ayer is at pains to point this out to us in ways that are both alarming and on reflection, completely understandable. How much of this can be described as original or noteworthy, however, is something else.
What Ayer presents is an admittedly warts and all perspective about the vagaries of battle and the suffering inflicted by man on man in a time when sophistication was at something of a premium on the battlefield, even if the value of a life was worryingly cheap. The film employs and enjoys some notable talent and subsequently can be applauded for the gritty realism that Ayer brings to his viewers through their depiction, even if the audience may have trouble relating to or engaging with the characters as much as we would want and/or expect to.
Definitely not subtle in any respect nor, surprisingly perhaps, as respectful of its subject matter as it might be. The sense of loss of life is dulled purely by its abundance and there is a possibility of being a touch too much gleeful enjoyment about attempting to shock those watching, so Ayer’s attempts (such as they are) to inject some brevity seems to fall on (literally, it really is very noisy indeed) deaf ears on most occasions.
Fury is, without doubt, a difficult and challenging undertaking for cast and crew, who all struggle with the kid gloves required to handle this as delicately as it really needs to be dealt with, and on most occasions, possibly falls short of the requirement in terms of respect in favour of entertainment. In all, however, very watchable from Pitt, Ayers and company. It may well give you a headache and from a purely entertainment standpoint, it lacks the cool (and cares less about the fact, if we’re honest) required to match that other World War film starring Mr Pitt, but despite its moral sidestepping and general barn dancing around what its audience should likely deem acceptable, this is a sobering, meaty drama with bags of talent and visual flair at its strongly beating heart.

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