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 her 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.
What is it that consistently draws filmmakers to WW2, as opposed to say WW1 or more recent conflicts such as Iraq or Afghanistan? It’s an interesting question and one that weighed on my mind as I watched ‘Fury‘, a brutal and uncompromising tank movie set in the closing weeks of the second World War, as the allied troops closed in on victory. ‘Fury’ is focused almost entirely on the tank of its name, and the people inside it, with the excellent ensemble led well by a strong performance from Brad Pitt as Sergeant ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, with intense performances from Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal and Shia LaBeouf in particular. Completing the group is Logan Lerman’s rookie, in a role that could easily be relegated to the ‘youngster experiencing loss of innocence’ war movie trope, but ‘Fury‘ overcomes this through a harrowing performance from Lerman and a solid character arc.
One of the main reasons to see this film is the stunning action sequences that are as good as anything depicted on screen recently. Director David Ayer showed his skill for close up camera work in the excellent ‘End of Watch‘ (one of my favourite movies of 2012), and this style is perfect for the claustrophobic shots within the tank itself, which really make you feel like you’re down there with the crew. There’s a good balance between wider shots and the scenes inside the tank, and Ayer always has a good grasp on the geography and location of the main players (avoiding the confusion you often get in these large scale fight scenes). A couple of the tank battles are a thrilling and intense watch, particularly one through the midpoint as ‘Fury‘ and a well defended German tank try to take each other out, and the concluding showdown is terrific.
The big success of ‘Fury‘ is how the filmmakers and the cast manage to balance the horrors of war and strong character work with thrilling and intense action sequences. ‘Fury’ is a terrific, unrelenting war movie, and a very enjoyable watch.
Directed By: David Ayer
Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia Labeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Michael Pena, Jim Parrack, Brad William Henke and Jason Isaacs