End of Watch director David Ayer has delivered the rip-snorting war flick, Fury, starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman. There is no room for sentiment in the former military man’s World War Two epic. There are no cheap tricks, fancy effects, or glitzy Hollywood-esque over-dramatisation; this is brutal, and it works to a tee.
The Nazis are hanging on for dear life as the allied army descends into Germany in the Spring of 1945. Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, a well-respected Sherman tank commander, leads a five-man crew of Boyd Swan (LaBeouf), Grady Travis (Jon Bernthal), Trini Garcia (Michael Peña) and newboy Norman Ellison (Lerman), through Germany as they look to kill off the enemy’s last lines of resistance. As ‘Fury’ (the tanks nickname) breaks down, and with German soldiers heading their way, the men are left with a decision to make: run or fight? One things for certain, deaths are aplenty!
It may lack the style, and even depth, of classic war films as Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and even Saving Private Ryan, but Fury has plenty of balls. Ayer has cut away the over-sentimental fluff, producing a brutally honest affair that does not rely on either sentiment or dramatics to give the film a different kind of backbone. This is a tale of an unconventional family; five men – different, tortured, and tired – who, despite everything, have each others backs, led by the daddy of the group, Collier, with Ellison – youthful and naive to war – the little baby. Pitt and Lerman, like father and son, learn and grow together in the most unique (and toughest) of environments, and together are one of the film’s biggest strengths.
The story itself, simple yet effective, is neither ground-breaking nor spectacular, but its pace, intensity, and sheer brutality leaves you captivated. Each head blown off, or disintegrated face you see, leaves you under no illusions; this feels like war. The performances are strong, with Pitt being, well, Pitt, LaBeouf being, well, less LaBeouf than usual, and Lerman excelling, going from boy to man (in more ways than one) in the space of 144 minutes.
Fury may not be pretty, nor conventionally eye-catching, but for realism, grit, and tenacity, there have been few better war films over the past few decades. Appreciate something different, that does not try and pretend war was something other than horrible, disgusting, and deadly. Ayer has put us through the ringer, and it was one hell of a glorious bloodbath!