Writer and director David Ayer has made a name for himself by bringing harsh and realistic urban crime stories to the big screen. As a writer, Training Day, has been his crowning achievement and most high profile success. Since that time, he has transitioned to the director's chair where he has become increasingly more capable. In his latest effort, he has taken his focus from the wars on the urban battlefields of modern day inner-cities, back to World War II, when it was a lot more clear who the enemy was.
Fury is about a team of five American soldiers in 1945 who man a Sherman tank in war-torn Germany. Despite facing overwhelming numbers of Nazis with superior weaponry, Don "Wardaddy" Collier, played by Brad Pitt, leads his veteran squad into the eye of the battle.
From the first moment we see Pitt leap into frame, Ayer sends a striking message that the brutality and pain of war will be laid bare during the course of the film. This movie, like a few others before it, explores the gory horrors of war in an unflinching and unforgiving manner. It is shocking and it is meant to be. When Norman, played by Logan Lerman, enters the picture, the audience gets its first character that hasn't been desensitized to the carnage of WWII.
Ayer is unflinching in his blood-soaked exploration of combat. He smartly uses Norman as the stand-in for the audience. Through his eyes, the viewer experiences how truly horrific the battles were. The rest of the squad have been hardened by the brutality and have survived by becoming killing machines, which have affected each member in specific ways. The fresh-faced Lerman is well cast as the new recruit who looks and acts like he doesn't belong.
Collier is a hardened war veteran and his soldiers would run through a wall for him. However, he doesn't earn that respect for being a cookie-cutter good guy. In fact we see him commit many horrific acts. However through it all, it's apparent that his affection for his soldiers and his commitment to ensuring their survival, is what drives his particularly harsh approach. He frequently reminds them that he had promised to keep his team safe and it's clear that he will do whatever it takes to keep his word. Pitt commands the role of the ranking officer like a second skin, while chewing the scenery like fresh tobacco. Perhaps the most satisfying layer to his character is that, despite his tough-guy bravado, he clearly has been traumatized and haunted by the battles that he has participated in. Ayer takes brief moments to show that even Collier has trauma to hide and can't escape the psychological damage of war.
Shia LeBeouf plays Boyd "Bible" Swan, the lead gunner and the most religious member of the unit. Lebeouf is outstanding and his character serves as the conscious of the squad. He is the first to a fallen soldier's side and the one member who has truly held on to a piece of who he was before the combat. Swan has seemed to internalize all of the horrors he has witnessed and LeBeouf pulls off a very memorable performance.
Jon Bernthal plays Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis, the mechanic and ammo loader of the team. Travis is a loose cannon and the wild card of the bunch. Completely fueled on emotion and impulse, Bernthal fully embodies the character who is seemingly born for warfare. The way he is played, it's clear without an extensive backstory, that at war is where he is most at home. Michael Pena's character, Trini "Gordo" Garcia, probably gets the least to work with, but turns in a solid performance regardless.
The camaraderie and banter between the crew is a shining point. They have clearly all come from different places and may not even like each other much. However, their experiences have created a bond of brotherhood, where they are ready to come to blows one moment, and willing to die for one another in the next.
The inside of the tank is claustrophobic and you can practically smell the grime and odor that is literally layered on the inner walls of the Sherman. As the movie progresses, you come to understand the soldiers' attachment to life inside this mechanical coffin on wheels. On the outside of the tank, the battles are loud and kinetic. Ayer chooses to light the bullets with green and red tracers, which gives the tank-on-tank combat a heightened sense of reality. The highlighted bullets actually serve to increase the tension as the geography of the action is made even easier to follow.
Fury is an exceptional movie, both technically and emotionally. While this isn't necessarily based on a particular true story, it certainly gives a glimpse of the horrific realities of fighting in World War II. Fury certainly is not a film for the feint of heart. However, if you are into looking for a visceral war movie, with memorable characters, you won't find much better then this in recent years. Ayer's next film will be an adaptation of Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. This film could certainly have used that same title, so it's apparent why he is the director for the job. He has truly grasped the technical side, which has now equaled the quality of his voice. Simply put, Fury is an exhilarating and well-crafted film that hits on almost all cylinders.
Will you be checking out Fury?
Source: Point of Geeks