Fury starts with an abundance of mud and machismo and ends with real heart and raw emotion.
Described by writer, director David Ayer as a ww2 film about a ‘family in a tank’, the story follows the crew of a Sherman tank as they see out the war on German soil in April 1945.
Battle hardened and depleted as their tightly knit team is, they have not yet had their fill of ‘killing Krauts. Led by Sgt Collier (Brad Pitt) known as ‘Wardaddy’, the family comprises a bible bashing Shia Le Beouf, crude hard man Jon Bernthal, wisecracking Michael Pena and rookie Logan Lerman who has been dragged to the front from his job as a clerk.
His ability to type 60 words per minute counts for little when he’s faced with his first kill or be killed moment. At first glance Lerman seems to be at the opposite end of the moral spectrum from the uncompromising Wardaddy who attempts to initiate him into the reality of war but Pitt invests his character with the remains of a humanity that, while not shown to his men, alerts the audience to the fact that this man had a life before the war.
That the cast is uniformly superb and makes us ‘see’ their pasts without any flashbacks is due in part to the backstory Ayer created for each character.
At the press conference for the film at LFF, Pitt spoke of the ‘endless emails’ that Ayer sent each actor ‘often late at night’ in the 3 months they spent preparing for the film. ‘Each character had an incredibly detailed CV’, Pitt said.
The actors were then entrusted to bring elements of the men they were pre war into the soldiers they portray as they deal on a dily basis with the cold, hunger, mental fatigue and horrors of a war that would end one day ‘ but not before there had been more killing.’
Fury is beautiful and brutal on screen, sometimes at the same time. The opening scene sets the tone. A Nazi officer sits astride a magnificent white horse and surveys a landscape of carnage. As he moves through the field of dead bodies there’s a sense of brooding menace. It’s clear there is a hidden violence and horror to come too. And it does.
Fury isn’t for everyone but for those willing to take the reality of war, it’s a must see.