The 400-Word Review: Fury
By Sean Collier
October 20, 2014
Between the omnipresence of military-themed video games and true-story films such as Lone Survivor and Zero Dark Thirty, modern warfare has undergone a subtle glamorization as of late. To be sure, none of those works are trying to make armed conflict look sexy — but they’re not trying to make it look repulsive, either.
We need some first rate deglamorization. And Fury fits the bill.
Set in April 1945 amid the Allied push to Berlin, the film depicts one day of action in and around a worse-for-wear tank (named “Fury”). As the day begins, a fallen comrade is replaced with an under-trained typist (Logan Lerman). By the next morning, the company will have faced battle again and again. At no moment is it glamorous.
The rest of the crew — played by Brad Pitt, Jon Bernthal, Michael Peña and Shia LaBeouf — bear a weariness that suggests long months of combat. Amidst a barrage of hapless and often unplanned violence, though, we see the instantaneously corrupting power of war, which reduces the company’s newest member from a conscientious objector to a soulless piece of artillery before dinner.
It’s compelling storytelling, but it’s also perfectly believable. Lest it seem that Fury is a solemn meditation, though, it doubles as a disturbing, yet vivid, action film. The film was written and directed by David Ayer, who has had successes and failures in those roles; before he was given the helm, he wrote Training Day... as well as S.W.A.T. (We’ll call his contributions to the script for Fast and the Furious a toss-up.) Ayer announced himself as a serious filmmaker with the well-received End of Watch; in Fury, he employs a career’s worth of action experience to build scenes of combat and destruction more visceral and terrifying than expected in what is nominally a drama.
This flair for mayhem is always in service of the film’s themes, however. And while an argument can be made that the cinematography and editing are lackluster, I prefer to believe that they’re intentionally muted to avoid any stylization in a stark, dire film. There are those who will deny that Fury’s heart is in the right place, and others who have a tough time getting through its relentless assault. Those who do, however, will find one of the most affecting films of the year, and the antidote to Hollywood’s current crop of war movies.
My Rating: 9/10