Over the space of 24 hours, the crew of the WWII Allied tank ‘Fury’ take on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. Along with a Germany that is vicious in the throes of its death rattle, the crew have to deal with old resentments, and a new member of their team; inexperienced soldier Norman (Logan Lerman).
Fury is a strange sort of a film; David Ayer is a director who has tackled a similar story about people surviving in a confined space before, in End of Watch, and since Samuel Moaz released his film Lebanon, Fury doesn’t feel that it should have anything new or interesting to say, and in a way, it doesn’t.
Each of the characters struggles to make a mark in the film; Brad Pitt plays a watered down and considerably less memorable version of Lt Aldo Raine, which leaves the audience waiting for him to tell Shia LaBeouf to bring him ‘One hunnert Nazi scalps’ and doesn’t give Wardaddy a chance to be a fully formed character. Logan Lerman plays the newbie, the inexperienced soldier thrust into the centre of war, and while he manages to balance out the callousness of his tank mates to a degree, he is really given little else to do. Shia LaBeouf plays a Bible thumper whose character swings from kindness to selfishness, often within the space of a sentence, and has very little consistency. Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal make up the rest of the tank’s crew.
The story takes place in the space of 24 hours, and shows the extraordinary odds that the Allies faced at the end of WWII. Initially, the tanks roll out on a dangerous mission, but we never see them truly reach their destination. Instead, the platoon is ambushed again and again, with the outcome of this – other than to hammer home the fact that the Nazis used child soldiers and that war is unpleasant and unpredictable – being that the crew of the ‘Fury’ never reach their true destination. Many of the scenes are given too much or too little focus, with a sequence in a house with two German women going on much longer than it needs to.
It’s fairly common knowledge that director David Ayer pushed his actors to inhabit their roles; making them fight one another and spend many hours cooped up inside the tank. While this is admirable, and the banter between the crew shows this and the characters seem to know one another well, the audience is never really allowed to get to know them. The fight sequences are gory and violent, and incredibly well shot, but the choice to make gunshots looks like lasers makes Fury feel a little like a space epic, rather than a historical film.
In all, Fury is a film that tries to tell a new story, but ends up feeling familiar and watered down. Brad Pitt never truly shakes off Inglourious Basterds, and those who have seen Samuel Moaz’s Lebanon will tire of the tank sequences rather quickly. The film is well shot, but the work that went on behind the scenes never truly shows through, so while Fury looks good, it is filled with thin characters, unnecessary scenes and ultimately feels a little pointless.