Directed by David Ayer
starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal
In UK Cinemas October 24th, 2014

by Joanna Orland

The cruelty of war is still an issue we face today, and Fury is a needed reminder, lest we forget. Director David Ayer follows gritty police drama End of Watch with even grittier World War II drama Fury starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal and Logan Lerman as a team of soldiers in charge of commanding a tank known as Fury. The film focuses on familial bonds formed during times of crisis, with the cruelty of war destroying characters as they evolve from empathetic men into soldiering killing machines.

Boyd (LaBeouf), Gordo (Peña), and Grady (Bernthal) have been a unit of soldiers, fighting together as a team since their days in North Africa, with Wardaddy (Pitt) as their leader and father figure. The year is now 1945 and the fight has moved to Germany. The team in charge of Fury have lost the fifth member of their ‘family’ and a young Norman Ellison (Lerman) is commanded in as a replacement. The other four members of the Fury crew immediately resent Norman as it harshly reminds them of the loss they incurred. Norman’s character is weak and not ready for war – he was trained as a typist, not a tanker. With death as a permanent risk in the enemy territory of Nazi Germany, Wardaddy forces Norman to embrace the cruelty of war to become a killing machine, and therefore, a true family member to the crew of Fury.

Norman’s evolution from naive and sensitive American boy to hardened World War II soldier is played with a great maturity by relative newcomer Logan Lerman who more than holds his own in what is essentially a leading role amongst an ensemble cast which includes such acting veterans as Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal. Pitt and Peña are excellent as always, but the performance that truly stands out in this film is LaBeouf’s. His role is merely supporting, but he does it to great effect. With his mere glances towards Wardaddy, the audience understands that Boyd was the original Norman to Pitt’s Wardaddy, but he is at the end of his evolution. He approaches the role of the very religious Boyd with strong emotion, and is either crying or welling up in every scene without producing an over-the-top performance. His subtlety and sensitivity in this film is a key contributing factor to its heart.

Not since Saving Private Ryan has a World War II film shown such gruesomely horrific battle scenes that work to traumatize the audience, but in a necessary and affective way. The action scenes are not as artistic or powerful of Saving Private Ryan, but Fury does come close to inducing a similar sick feeling in the audience as brutality is on full display. Even when the action is on a break, the gruesomeness remains on high as body parts and blood are scattered everywhere across the battle scene. Norman’s induction into the Fury team is for him to clean up the remains of the fifth member of the family, whose partial blown off face is still stuck to the surface. There is nothing subtle about this film.

Gruesome cruelty is the effect of war. Fury tells the story of how in spite of this brutality, the human spirit can prevail.

Fury: Shia LaBeoufShia LaBeouf

Fury: Jon BernthalJon Bernthal

Fury: Brad PittBrad Pitt

Fury: Michael PenaMichael Peña

Fury: David AyerDavid Ayer

Fury: Anamaria MarincaAnamaria Marinca

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