When it comes to depicting the brutal horrors of war on the silver screen, Fury does a commendable job in offering a visceral outlook to the audience through its numerous battle sequences that are relentless, unflinching & unforgiving in every sense of the word yet the film as a whole feels more or less like a missed opportunity because despite having the potential to deliver a cinematic experience that could’ve joined the same league as the finest examples of its genre, it comfortably settles for a score that’s quite below its aspirations. Featuring a relatively less used premise in warfare filmmaking, Fury is nonetheless ridden with almost every cliché of its genre, fails to provide a more compact structure to its narrative & definitely lacks the same level of devotion in handling its characters’ arcs as the one present when it is revelling in its extremity.
A fictional story set during the final months of World War II in Nazi Germany, Fury presents a fascinating portrait of tank crews that served during the last great war and concerns the battle-hardened five-man crew of a Sherman tank & the deadly mission they embark on behind enemy lines. Already reeling from the loss of one of their own, they find themselves in constant conflict with the new replacement who turns out to be a recently enlisted young man with no experience in the battlefield, and take it upon themselves to educate him about the harsh realities of war. However, when the crew is tasked with a new operation to hold a vital crossroad, it is during this moment when their bonding is put to test as the team faces overwhelming odds in a heroic attempt to hold its position despite being heavily outnumbered & outgunned.
Written & directed by David Ayer, the movie makes it pretty clear in its opening moments that it aims to put up a mercilessly raw depiction of war in front of viewers & isn’t going to be a nice ride for the easily distressed. Ayer’s direction is really good in parts & same can be said about the script but where the movie falls flat is in the moments when bullets & shells are not being exchanged. Cinematography encapsulates the whole picture with an intensely grim atmosphere while also making kinetic use of camera & cleverly chosen angles. Editing is effectively carried out during the battle sequences but at other times, you do feel its 134 minutes of runtime plus there were many moments it could’ve done without. And last but not the least, the background score composed by Steven Price wonderfully compliments the whole narrative from start to finish.
Coming to the performances, the main cast comprises of Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña & John Bernthal as the five-man crew of the Sherman tank named ‘Fury’. Brad Pitt stars as Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier; the commander of Fury & its crew, and although he’s highly convincing in his given role, his star presence does come in the way at times. Shia LaBeouf takes the role of Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan; Fury’s gunner, & to my surprise, he isn’t bad at all. Logan Lerman is in as the new recruit named Norman Ellison & it is through him that we witness the dehumanising effects of war on a human being. Also, Lerman does a fine job as Norman plus it’s his developing bond with Wardaddy which is the core ingredient of this film & really drives its story. Michael Peña as Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia & John Bernthal as Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis play Fury’s driver & loader, respectively, and deliver fine performances, if not good enough.
However, the chemistry these five actors share with each other feels incredibly natural & does add more authenticity to their characters like they’ve been together for a really long time yet within minutes into the movie, you’re already able to make out who’s going to survive in the end. On an overall scale, there aren’t many examples in cinema that have captured war from the viewpoint of a tank crew & in that particular aspect, Fury is a welcome addition. The violence & gore present in here tells an awful lot about David Ayer’s uncompromising approach in shooting this gruesome drama & making it as viscerally effective as possible but if he had chosen to spend a little more time in further polishing its scripted characters or tightening the middle act, then this war drama would’ve been much more than just another good example of its genre. Nevertheless, the positives in Fury do manage to get ahead of the negatives by a slight margin and for the most part, it remains an intensely enjoyable, viciously entertaining & immensely satisfying cinematic ride that comes thoroughly recommended.