"And I heard the voice of Lord saying: Whom shall I send and who will go for Us? And... I said: Here am I , send me."
It’s April 1945, and in the final month of World War 2 the commander of a Sherman Tank (Brad Pitt, going by the moniker Wardaddy) finds himself with a new assistant driver (Logan Lerman) as he and his crew make a final push into Germany in the hopes to reclaim an enemy occupied village and nearby cross-road to help assist the allied war efforts.
One of the only major flaws for David Ayer’s latest isn’t with the film itself, but rather the marketing of it (similar to Ayer’s brilliantly under seen and under appreciated previous film “End of Watch”). When watching the trailer for the film the audience is given the idea that this will be a well produced, exciting and enthralling war actioner, however, any idea that the film is a fun action flick are done away with in the opening scenes which expertly set the tone for the piece and explain to the audience that this is a very serious film about the very serious and dark nature of war that just so happens to be very well produced, exciting and enthralling.
While similarly realistic take on depicting the horrors of war has been tackled previously (although not nearly this violent since 1999’s “Saving Private Ryan”) Ayer has managed shift the focus away from the conflict between nations to the conflict between men, and not men on opposing sides of the battlefield. The claustrophobic setting of the film is not only the battleground for the war battles but the emotional and physical battles between the men driving the tank itself. The characters, and in particular their relationships to each other, that Ayer has crafted is nothing short of brilliant. Watching these men bicker over petty things one minute and laugh over a shared joke the next gives the audience a true sense that these men truly are a family, and the tank their home.
Pitt provides his usual stoic grace as the patriarch while Lerman delivers heartbreakingly “fresh-eyed” performance similar to his work in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. The true standout of the cast are the supporting roles. Jon Bernthal, as “Coon-Ass”, embodies a character that is so easy to despise yet somehow he manages to imbue him with a subtly understanding of his actions and his nature that makes the audience unable to not sympathies and be utterly captivated by him. Shia LaBeouf however, this is his film as he delivers a performance that is nothing short of amazing. In the role of Boyd “Bible” Swan, LaBeouf takes a character who could have possibly been the most annoying thing in the film (a religious fanatic, constantly quoting scripture) and turned him into a man who is not only the heart and soul of his unit but the film itself. He completely disappears into his character and it is nothing short of breathtaking (and something I truly hope won’t be forgotten when the awards season roles around).
If you’ve ever been curious what “Saving Private Ryan” would be like if it had the tone and atmosphere of “Prisoners”, look not further than this film. While extremely dark and unrelenting in parts this film is a true character piece that focuses on not only the horrors that men had to go through in war, but the relationships they built from it. Ayer once again proves that, despite the way his films are marketed, he is able to craft truly original films in which actors are given free reign to give it their all and "Fury" is no exception.
8.5 out of 10.
Reviewed by Chris Swan