'Fury': What the Critics Are Saying

David Ayer's WWII drama stars Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal

Fury, out on Friday, follows Brad Pitt on a World War II tank with Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal on a deadly mission in enemy territory for 24 hours.

Directed by David Ayer, the $68 million Sony release is expected to open in the $25 million range.

Read what top critics are saying about Fury:

The Hollywood Reporter's chief film critic Todd McCarthy writes that it's "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." Ayer "smartly moves away from the feverish cop and urban crime dramas he's written and sometimes directed." And "shot on film on English locations, Fury has an attractively muted look that strongly reflects the weather, time of day and immediate circumstances; eschewing the handheld documentary look he employed with Ayer on End of Watch, cinematographer Roman Vasyanov goes the other way here with what one might call a look of rugged refinement. The tanks, uniforms, equipment and sets all contribute to a vivid sense of realism."

Watch more 'Fury' Trailer: Brad Pitt Leads Soldiers, Outnumbered by German Enemy, in World War II

Additionally, Pitt delivers "an emblematic performance" and "as the greenhorn thrown into the deep end of war, Lerman serves as a sympathetic viewer proxy who, even in one day, receives rich schooling from Wardaddy. The other men register solidly, and it would be difficult not to be touched by the girl played so nicely by Alicia von Rittberg, who is pushed to a full range of emotional extremes in one afternoon."

The New York Times' A. O. Scott calls it "an old-fashioned platoon picture, a sensitive and superbly acted tale of male bonding under duress." Ayer, "venturing into ambitious genre territory, has a way of filming violence that is both intense and matter-of-fact. Like many other post-Saving Private Ryan combat movies, this one emphasizes the chaotic immediacy of battle, staking its claim to authenticity on the unflinching depiction of bloodshed. ... The battle scenes are staged with blunt, ground-level virtuosity, and with a welcome regard for spatial and visual coherence."

Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan notes, "What makes this film distinctive is the adroit way it both subverts and enhances old-school expectations, grafting a completely modern sensibility onto thoroughly traditional material." And "under the command of skilled production designer Andrew Menzies, Fury shows great concern for getting the specific details right, even rounding up five authentic M4 Sherman tanks and one German Tiger to use in the production." Pitt's "stardom is Fury's core advantage: We are hard-wired to be on his team no matter how far beyond the pale his actions go."

Read more Brad Pitt to Toast Veterans at 'Fury' Washington Premiere

Time's Richard Corliss says, "Ayer’s movie has the admirable ambition of showing how even the Greatest Generation could brutalize and be brutalized by war. ... In staging his big battle sequences, he brings Fury to fitful life." Altogether, "World War II was a historical event, but also a movie genre, and Fury occasionally prints the legend. The rest of it is plenty grim and grisly. Audience members may feel like prisoners of war forced to watch a training-torture film."

The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan summarizes, "Although filmed with a visceral — and often shockingly grisly — beauty, as well as pulse-quickening drama, the movie is only passably interesting as a war movie, especially when measured against classics such as Paths of Glory. Still, it’s engaging and watchable, even as it marches toward a seemingly suicidal climax."

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee