Much like other Ayer's films, “Fury” follows the tone and nature of “Training Day” and “End of Watch” into the mix, by offering gritty, dark and violent story to make sense of itself. Staged during the waning year of World War II, Ayer puts out an enigmatic and pragmatic titular-Sherman tank unit, manned by Don, Boyd, Trini, Grady and rookie Norman, to tackle the Nazis in their home country. For most if it, “Fury” has a functional-yet-straightforward plot. The story chronicles the advancement of the team deep into the enemy land that culminates with a standoff to defend their strategic point from the enemy. As for being a war drama, “Fury” relies on the well-staged and intense land and aerial tank battle to do its job, but one can notice that the actions may have been far too few fir its lengthy running time.
But that is only half of the whole picture. The human elements turn out to be the bigger picture in the movie. It dominates the screen time and it is mesmerizing when we were given the chance to dig deep into the characters through their chatters and philosophies. Ayer gives much soul into the argument, which coincidentally well-aligned with the plot that explores how much a soulless man will do in order to survive. Throughout the movie, the theme about turbulence past and identity struggles are frequently probed, which results in an expensive emotional and humanity ride, sombre and depressing truth from the amplification of warfare, and the effects of humanitarian disaster.
The other best part about “Fury” is the presence of its ensemble stars. Brad Pitt’s performance is stellar and engagingly wise while Logan Lerman’s performance as the most inexperienced soldier in the mix marks the centre of emotion and transformation. Shia LaBeouf shines in one of his best performances so far.
While certain elements and stories do feel cliche, at least there is a non-conventional messages relayed in within it. And if there is one thing that hinders “Fury” from becoming even better is that it sometimes plays too safe around its fable. While the emotions and actions are adequate, I wish the movie can be more bold in challenging itself with complexity - but that is a minor complaint, truly.
With David Ayer's strong direction, intense action and thought-provoking story elements, “Fury” is an amazing war drama while it may be a couple notches below the great Saving Private Ryan. B+
Numerical Rating (In case you are also interested):