Fury is a war drama that is brutal in its visuals, yet mild in its narrative
With Adolf Hitler's last stance on the horizon, Brad Pitt and his gang are lead to war in this graphic, blood soaked, war thriller. Ayer's visual style plays well against the dark and chaotic images of war.
In April 1945, the Allies are making their final push in the European theater. A battle hardened Army sergeant named Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt), leading a Sherman tank and a five-man crew, undertakes a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Hopelessly outnumbered, outgunned and saddled with an inexperienced soldier (Logan Lerman) in their midst, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds as they move to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
Fury borrows a lot of ideas from many of the finest war movies made. There's a Sam Peckinpah (Cross of Iron) feeling hanging over this drama, which isn't a bad thing, but slightly holds it back from forging its own identity. There is nothing wrong with paying homage to one of the finest war movies— of which Cross of Iron is— but allowing it to consume your movie visually and characteristically is a flaw director David Ayer needed to attend to.
fury shows no apologies in its graphic depiction
Lead in the movie is Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt, who plays battled scarred Don Collier, or Wardaddy as he likes to be known. He's the commander of the second Armoured Division tank crew who have brutally gone through it all from North America to Normandy and now find themselves in the final stretch in Germany, about to face Hitler's chaotic last stand. When mud from the trenches is splattered on screen, Ayer's Fury shows no apologies in its graphic depiction of battle. We see heads, hands, arms and legs being savagely severed. It's during these moments that another similar visual theme pops into your conscience. Pitt's Wardaddy character lives up to same moniker his Aldo Raine persona did in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds— he just loves to kill Nazi's. The only difference between Wardaddy and his head scalping Inglourious character is; Wardaddy seems to feel the pain of killing another soul.
ayer has a strong visual aesthetic
David Ayer has continued to prove himself as an accomplished director. Fury is a dark, ultra-violent tale that may be guilty of leaning too much on the harsh brutality of war and borrowing of themes, to wholeheartedly engage its audience. Either way, Ayer does boast a strong visual aesthetic in most of his movies. Occasionally, his movies may lack that narrative punch that would elevate them above others, but Fury is the type of movie Ayer should be making from now on. He should never be tempted back into making movies like Sabotage— merely vehicles designed to try and make actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger relevant again.
Ultimately, Fury is a good, conventional war movie that could've become something more. Pitt is engaging, albeit playing a character we're familiar with. Its battle scenes are some of the very best in a long time which always play out handsomely on screen. It can be said that the movies third act and climax marches toward a bizarre culmination but the complex dynamic between Wardaddy and his men, is the fascinating element of this movie.