You know that feeling when you’ve finished watching a film, and you’ve enjoyed the movie so much so that your mind is just utterly racing (in every which direction) unable to lock down the specifics as to why you had such an enthralling time (with the film) so you subsequently say to yourself: “I need to see this again – immediately” just to calm down your cinematic-jitters and get past the excitement… get it all out of your system so that you can then properly analyze and hone in on the film’s impact? Well this is how I feel about writer/director David Ayer’s skillfully crafted, down n’ dirty World War II tank orgy of a film, Fury.
First and foremost, Fury is a film that I will tell my dad to see forthwith. This serves as a huge compliment for the picture, as I grew up on a healthy diet of good ol’ fashioned down-in-the-muck war movies. No green-screen, no tacked on preachy whimsy, just straight-up: Here are your band of solider-protagonists, now hang on as we follow them down into the bowels of late 1945 hell-on-earth. Fury is that movie from the time its blood soaked title appears on-screen. While the nature of any war film always features your men-on-a-mission centerpiece, in Fury it’s really not about a core mission that we the audience should be getting attached to in terms of wanting (and hoping) the soldiers achieve their overall objective. Refreshingly enough, the film is also not aggressively about taking ideological sides, scolding us for watching the battle at play, while firing off exploitative carnage as if we’re standing in line at some sort of buffet-of-bullets, begging for seconds. Instead, Fury almost just exists as the war film that is really only concerned with… well just existing. Existing within the approaching last days of battle (and more specifically tank battle).
While we ultimately do watch movies like these to witness the kills and cringe at the inhumane conditions aligned to fighting on the front-lines, Fury’s violence (in my opinion) is not gratuitous. On the contrary, it’s responsible storytelling. And getting back to the story at hand and my vague comment about the film “existing”… this is to say that Fury is really about following a family’s bond and watching the relationships, the attachments grow, as the environment around them perpetually crumbles into a burning inferno of despair. Fury is grimy, bleak, and unapologetically crass with its depiction of gore and wartime camaraderie, yet nothing ever felt false to me. Stripped of any cookie-cutter clarity, Ayer elevates the film’s grit to an almost surrealistic (dare I say painterly) level of poignancy, and this obsessive concentration to detail charges through every single frame of the film.
Fury is without a doubt David Ayer’s best film (within his developing body of work) to date. The cast comes across as tirelessly committed to their roles/characters, and as focused as they all apparently are, I have to assume that this was the exact mandate of everyone involved in producing this picture. From being shot on glorious 35 mm celluloid to the intentionally disciplined use the fluid and stationary camera, it seems someone made the call early on to employ an old-fashioned eloquence to zeroing in on the house-of-horrors that is Fury’s escalating battle-based bloodshed. I have to admit, I went into this movie expecting an overall exercise in blandness, and what I got was something more in tune with a filmmaking energy that I savour from the likes of such films as Crimson Tide or Black Hawk Down. If war movies are your cup-of-tea, I can’t recommend this one enough. Much like the confining nature of the film’s mud-treading troupe of tank navigators, Fury (to be blunt about it) is tight.