In David Ayer’s capable hands this facet of WWII has never been more visceral, gritty and highly disturbing. Ayer has a tendency to portray the violence in his stories as realistic as possible, and with Fury this is truer than ever. Blown-apart bodies, missing limbs, and even faces separated from the skull; this is not a film for the faint of heart. Horror movies tend to show gore in an exaggerated form often leaving a cushion to let the audience know that it’s all make believe, that there’s nothing to worry about. With Ayer’s films he shows violence, and the gore that is often a side effect of said violence, in the harshest ways possible. With his previous movie, Sabotage, the level of gore and blood felt excessive and without purpose. With Fury the same kind of brutality is present, but this time it feels necessary as the aim is to show the most honest look at this kind of warfare and the trauma it caused both physically and mentally on those left behind to pick up the dismembered pieces of their fallen comrades. Like I said, war is hell and this film aims to prove it (as if we needed convincing).
Violence aside, a definite focus here is on character work, which was what was missing in Sabotage; a film that was filled with such unlikable characters the movie failed as a result. With Fury Ayer returns to form that made his best movie, End of Watch, work so wonderfully. There is a brotherhood already established at the start of the film and it’s the actor’s job to make the audience believe this relationship has been formed through time and experience. I think they did a good enough job creating a sense of history with much needed shorthand among them and of course the horrifying stories they share of battles they survived through. It’s in the more tender moments, few though there may be, that a real relatability starts to show. These aren’t superhuman soldiers fighting without fear, they are normal men living in the most surreal and devastating time in the last two hundred years of world history. They show signs of absolute terror, but through their dependence on one another a kind of strength shows that pushes them through the worst situations a human could ever face. There are moments that show Brad Pitt’s character nearly falling to his knees in fear and overwhelming sadness that threatens to overtake him. But out of necessity to keep his beloved crew alive he pushes on and it’s something we all hope we would have inside ourselves in such moments.
The saddest part of this film is the numbness these men show toward the most vicious violence imaginable. They have been through and seen so much that they have no more room for feeling sorry about the violence they are forced to commit. They have no remorse left, it died long ago for them and it’s as if a part of their very souls are missing because of it. To see the rookie who was sweating with absolute terror, fearing the events to come, compared to the hardened men that operate FURY there is a very noticeable difference between them. The rookie is our look into this ferocious world as he watches these men lose themselves in bullets and mayhem. As the film carries on the light of innocence begins to dim in the rookie and it’s difficult to watch such a young, decent man become savage out of simply trying to survive another day.
The men of FURY have been together for most of the war, and in a profession that takes so many lives so often this is a rarity. They know this and they feel the window of luck that keeps them alive quickly closing on them. With a rookie just assigned to them they fear their luck has officially run out. He is gun shy and only sees people and not the enemy. They must break him of this thinking if they have any hope of surviving. With time not on their side they must break him by means that will alter his very being. It will change him permanently, but if he hopes to make it he will adjust accordingly. Almost without delay he begins witnessing atrocities of war that shake him to his very core. With the strong leadership of his sergeant, nicknamed ‘Wardaddy’, he forces this young man to realize what he must do to live and no matter how much pleading he does, he will have to face the enemy and fire his weapon. What they all soon learn is that their greatest test still lies ahead and the odds against them are unimaginable.
This is the Ayer I missed with his last film and with a great script and wonderful cast; Fury is a damn good, highly violent look at WWII and the struggles these brave men faced. Great characters, great action and even the occasional touching moment, this is a worthwhile film and shouldn’t be missed.
Rated R For: strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout
Run Time: 134 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal
Directed By: David Ayer
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls
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