Monday, 14 September 2015

Fury (2014)

Writer/director David Ayer is responsible for a string of cop films of varying quality. With Fury he delivers a solid and impressive war movie in the Sam Peckinpah Cross of Iron mould.  It's a strong film, but it's by no means an easy watch.

Brad Pitt stars as the tank commander War Daddy leading his crew through the bitter, bloody ravages of war torn Germany in the final days of the Second World War, battling the last ditch defence of increasingly desperate but well equipped Nazis in their substandard Sherman tank, christened 'Fury'. Our lead into the film is the rookie who replaces the crew's slain assistant gunner, an untrained wide eyed clerk played by Logan Lerman. The rest of the crack crew consists of Ayer regular Michael Peña as Gordo, Jon Bernthal as Coon-Ass and Shia LaBeouf as Bible - but relax, not even the inclusion of 'The Beef' can fuck this one up!

This is an unrelentingly grim, bleak and viscerally stunning depiction of the brutal, savage combat as the Allies roll relentlessly towards Berlin and victory - and there's no chivalrous John Wayne antics here. As War Daddy sums up, they're here simply to "take the next town, and the next, and the next, until you people give up" and they do so by whatever means necessary.

That line is delivered after one of the most unbearably fraught, socially awkward dinner table setpieces since Abigail's Party (!) in which Pitt and Lerman, after liberating a town, take refuge in the flat of two frightened German women (Alicia von Rittberg and Anamaria Marinca - excellent in Sex Traffic) and slowly gain their confidence...until the remainder of their crew turn up and behave typically loutishly. 

In both script and direction, Ayer delivers. It's clear he has done his research and he produces some stunning battle scenes that place you point-of-view style inside the bowels of the tank in a way that only a first person shoot 'em up game could normally pull off.  He also effectively manages the quiet, thought provoking scenes in between the battles with great flair, so the viewer is never just waiting for the next action setpiece.  He's helped immeasurably by the cinematographer Roman Vasyanov who overall paints a very grimy and suitably monochromatic palette of brown mud, the greens of uniform and the gun metal greys, before bursting into life with nightmarish night-time battle sequences that could have been filmed in hell itself.

Be warned though, Fury is not a film for the faint hearted. You'll need a strong stomach for this film whose war-is-hell message is authentically uncensored.

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