'Fury' Review Roundup: Brad Pitt WWII Film Applauded But Divisive
Fury, written and directed by David Ayer, takes place at the end of World War II in April 1945 and follows the final push of a Sherman tank crew in the European Theatre.
Brad Pitt stars in Fury as army sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier, who commands a Sherman tank and the men that make up its crew – Bible (Shia LaBeouf), Norman (Logan Lerman), Gordo (Michael Peńa) and Grady (Jon Bernthal). Despite being outnumbered and out-gunned, Wardaddy urges his men on to win the war against Nazi Germany.
Ayer’s film has largely been praised for its gritty portrayal of war and his attention to the humanity of the soldiers still fighting and the lives lost. Yet, Fury has been criticized by some for being “war porn,” glorifying the awful violence committed by the protagonists. Pitt, LaBeouf and Lerman have all impressed with their performances.
“A great movie lets you know you’re in safe hands from the beginning. In “Fury,” as the crew, led by their Sergeant , rolls into headquarters, writer-director David Ayer cuts to images of the surroundings, such as a forlorn steer, separated from the herd, and a bulldozer pushing bodies into a mass grave. What extraordinary restraint on the part of Ayer and his editors not to linger on these images, but rather to flash on them for a second or two. – Mike LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“Ayer captures the buried feelings of men in combat with piercing immediacy. Pitt is tremendous in the role, a conscience detectable even in Wardaddy's blinkered gaze. But it's Lerman who anchors the film with a shattering, unforgettable portrayal of corrupted innocence. Fury means to grab us hard from the first scene and never let go. Mission accomplished.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“The men are straight out of Cliché Battalion: There’s a Christian a guy who is mocked for speaking “Mexican” a mean-spirited cynic and the raw recruit who needs to be retrained to enjoy killin’ — even unarmed, unresisting prisoners of war, in cold blood. That’s a war crime, not a baptism by fire. The film is, at times, a harrowing, visceral experience — you can almost smell the corpses as truckloads of them rumble through the mud — and the grit of “Fury” makes a contribution, of sorts. Yet I couldn’t help suspecting that there’s a pornographic leer to it all, a savage glee.” – Kyle Smith, New York Post
“Fury is a good, solid World War II movie, nothing more and nothing less. Rugged, macho, violent and with a story sufficiently unusual to grab and hold interest, it's a modern version of the sort of movie Hollywood turned out practically every week back in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, and because it stars Brad Pitt in what deserves to stand as an emblematic performance, it seems like a bigger deal, and the film's mild case of pretentiousness in the climactic stretch is its one notable problem.” – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Fury, rated R, is currenlty in wide release.