Fury (2014)

FuryIt’s 1945, and after years of fighting across Europe and beyond the Allies are preparing for their final push into Nazi Germany. Despite being a typist who has never been inside a tank before, Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) is ordered to join 66th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division as an assistant driver on Fury, an M4A3E8 Sherman tank under the command of Staff Sergeant Don Collier (Brad Pitt). His new comrades — Boyd Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Grady Travis (Jon Bernthal) and Trini Garcia (Michael Peña) — have served together for years, and are initially reluctant to entrust their lives to an administrator who refuses fight alongside them. When a landmine leaves them stranded and alone at a German crossroads, however, they have no other choice but to put their differences aside and work together.

Few historical events receive quite as much attention as the Second World War; perhaps there is just something about Adolf Hitler and his totalitarian tyranny that’s unusually cinematic, but what’s truly remarkable is how filmmakers are still finding new stories to tell. Writer-director David Ayer has not only chosen a relatively novel setting for his film (there aren’t too many tank-set war films out there) but he has populated it with characters that give an equally unusual perspective on the challenges that they face. There is not a hero among them, nor a single named antagonist, just five lost, scared, overwhelmed souls struggling against unimaginable odds and their own human natures.

The cast is outstanding, and even though Peña and Bernthall may have the least to do they still make an enormous impression in their allotted screentime. Much will be made of LaBeouf’s performance, and rightfully so, as he not only distances himself from his earlier roles but eclipses the controversies that have dogged him offscreen with his take on a moustacheod Christian soldier who is duty-bound not only to kill for his country but to pray for those who have fallen. As everyone else celebrates their own survival Swan kneels over the still suffering German casualties to pray for their salvation. While not quite as transformative, Pitt also impresses as SSgt Collier — there may be parallels to his character in Inglorious Basterds, but there are plenty of differences too — and its a shame he and Swan don’t have more scenes together.

Ultimately, however, the film belongs to Logan Lerman, an actor who has already distinguished himself through roles in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Noah but who here takes his performance to a whole other level. Nobody has ever looked as afraid, as confused, as utterly lost as Norman Ellison upon his introduction in Fury, when he is almost immediately ordered inside the tank to wash away the remains of his predecessor, and things only get worse for the former typist when his reluctance to fight leads indirectly to the death of his commanding officer (Xavier Samuel). As I said, there are no heroes in Ayer’s film and that includes pacifists — there are only human beings, in all their inglory. While Fury might be horrifying and unrelenting — both on the battlefield and at a dinner party that would likely put the Riot Club off their food — it is far from inhuman, and it’s largely thanks to Lerman that you don’t leave the cinema feeling completely and utterly despondent.

Fury isn’t perfect — though it does go some way to realising the true horror of war it isn’t entirely free of cliche or contrivance, particularly in the final act — but it’s still an admiral effort on Ayer’s behalf and quite possibly his most accomplished film to date. There are ghosts in his machine, and they will haunt you for days after the credits — and the tank — have finished rolling.

4-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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