Coming off the back of SABOTAGE, director David Ayer’s next movie was lined up and ready to go, FURY. As soon as I saw the posters for it and then the trailer, it immediately hit my radar as a ‘must-see’ movie for me. Having been a fan of Ayer’s work (especially END OF WATCH and of course, SABOTAGE), you know what kind of movie you’re going to be in for when the picture starts to roll.
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 his 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.
I sat down in the cinema waiting for the movie to start, thinking to myself that I hadn’t seen a good ‘war’ movie since SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, which I can’t believe is now 16 years old! There have been plenty of war films, of course; movies like LONE SURVIVOR, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA and countless more, but the one that has really stuck with me over the years has always been SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. I had heard good things about FURY, so I had pretty high expectations in all honesty and I’m very pleased to say it did not disappoint on any level.
When the cameras started to roll, you’re instantly thrust into a gritty, dark piece where you are sat inside the Sherman tank following the after-effects from battle. We are introduced to the movie’s main characters: first up is Sergeant Don Collier (played by Brad Pitt), Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Pena) and Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal). Immediately you know it’s not a nice or pleasant place to be, and that they have lost one of their crew members from the aforementioned battle. Upon returning to camp, a new recruit is introduced to the team to replace their fallen colleague. Norman (played by Logan Lerman) has no military experience at all, has never set foot in a tank or fired a bullet from a gun. He is forced to enter the tank to clean the remains of his predecessor. As soon as Normal is introduced into his new role, this sets up the rest of the movie.
FURY plays as a ‘boy growing into a man’ from being afraid to do what it is necessary to survive to following through with it. There’s some scenes which are hard to watch, with one of the more notable ones where Sergeant Collier forces Norman against his will to shoot a captured German soldier to prove he has what it takes to not only protect himself, but also his fellow crew in the tank with him. We follow Norman in such a short space of time making this hard transformation throughout the movie. The movie comes to a head when the team are hit with a land mine on the side of a road near their current objective. Stranded with no radio, all they can do is stand their ground with a huge SS battalion heading in their direction.
As with a war movie, it goes without saying it’s quite gruesome and gory at times and certainly doesn’t hold back. Surprisingly, which was similar to the rating of SABOTAGE, this was rated only a 15 for the UK and I have to admit, I was very surprised FURY wasn’t rated higher. There is lots of blood, lots of swearing, tanks running over bodies, burning bodies, gun shots, limbs flying off here and there; I guess it just goes to show how much more ‘relaxed’ the BBFC has become. Also, the soundtrack is glorious! The surround mix was sublime, really sticking you in the middle of the fight.
The whole cast, especially our main team, are great. Brad Pitt was great as always, borrowing in times from his INGLORIOUS Aldo Raine character. Pena and Bernthal were great as the main contrasts to the support of Lerman’s character. The real surprise for me was Shia LaBeouf! He was great as ‘Bible’, the main support for Sergeant Collier. There are some great scenes where they are all together recalling past war battles, oozing with emotion in such small instances.
It goes without saying that I thoroughly ‘enjoyed’ FURY, if that’s the right way to put it. It’s quite harrowing, dark and gritty following just one of the Sherman tank groups that would have fought for the US during World War II. It certainly had me thinking just what would it have been like for the guys that fought back then. Was it as good as the likes of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN? For me, no; however, FURY is a good comparison to it for a newer generation. Needless to say, this will be an instant purchase for me on BD when it’s released.