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Young men and women with paranormal abilities are collected by the government. The father of one of these seeks to save his son with the help of another.
For more about The Fury and the The Fury Blu-ray release, see the The Fury Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on March 19, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Charles Durning, Amy Irving, Andrew Stevens (I)
Director: Brian De Palma
» See full cast & crew
The Fury Blu-ray Review
For Plymouth Fury, please see 'Christine'.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, March 19, 2013
John Farris is a name I hadn't thought of since my adolescence, but seeing it again in the credits of The Fury suddenly brought back a flood of memories. When I was probably 10 or 11 or so, a sixth grade classmate of mine, a girl in whom I had more than a passing interest, handed me a decrepit old copy of Good Housekeeping or maybe McCall's, a so-called "women's magazine" that would never have caught even my slightest interest were it not for the fact that this girl pointed to the cover advertising a "complete suspense novel" called When Michael Calls and told me I had to read it. I started skimming and then found myself completely hooked by a creepy mystery tale. I voraciously read through the magazine, which probably didn't include the complete novel, but which had enough of it to completely capture my rapt attention in its story of a supposedly long dead little boy who begins calling his favorite Aunt (it has a certain parallel in a way to the recent French thriller Tell No One , which includes a somewhat similar setup between a supposedly long dead wife and her husband). Later, I found a used paperback copy of the actual book and reread it, and matriculated outward from that book to read several other Farris thrillers, none of which really had the visceral impact (for me, anyway) that When Michael Calls did. (The novel was adapted into an early Movie of the Week starring Elizabeth Ashley and a then quite young Michael Douglas.) For whatever reason, I never got to The Fury, arguably one of Farris' better known works, and the only one which he himself adapted for the screen. The Fury was an apt follow up for Brian De Palma after his success with Carrie, and in fact The Fury might be thought of as Carrie 2.0, with that 2.0 signifying both a new iteration as well as two specially powered kids instead of only one.
The Fury slightly twists Carrie's premise, not just with regard to dealing with two paranormally "enhanced" kids, but also with regard to the relationship between these kids and their parents. We're introduced first to Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas) and his son Robin (Andrew Stevens) as they frolic on a Middle East beach. Also in attendance is shadowy figure Ben Childress (John Cassavetes) who has both some kind of professional governmental relationship with Peter but who also has an overweening interest in Robin, a boy whose "special talents" are hinted at in the film's opening scene. An ostensible sudden terrorist attack separates Peter from Robin, and in the ensuing mayhem, Robin believes Peter has been killed. Ben makes sure Robin is spirited away but Peter, who in fact has not been killed, sneaks back to the attack site and sees that Ben had arranged the carnage himself in order to kidnap Robin. Peter manages to fire a machine gun at Ben, severely wounding his erstwhile friend.
That sets Peter off on a quest to locate his son, a plot that plays out parallel to that of the other "talented" kid in the film, Gillian Bellaver (Amy Irving), a young girl who is both psychic and able to spontaneously make people who touch her bleed (shades of pig blood in Carrie). The film kind of inartfully ping pongs back and forth between these two unfolding arcs. Peter is desperate to find Robin, but finds himself shadowed at every turn by Childress' henchmen. In fact one of the most interesting things about The Fury as seen circa 2013 is not just in its portrayal of supposed terrorism in the first scene, but with its whole subplot of a conspiratorial shadowy governmental agency that is able to monitor citizens' activities without the slightest problem (shades of The Patriot Act). De Palma is not especially subtle with regard to this governmental omniscience, framing several shots from above, a supposed "God's eye" point of view that lets the audience know, albeit perhaps subliminally, that the characters are being watched.
The two arcs of course intersect, courtesy of supporting character Hester (Carrie Snodgress), a worker at the high- falutin' Paragon Institute that studies paranormal phenomena and who just so happens to be Peter's surreptitious girlfriend. When Gillian freaks out at school one day after she displays several "special talents" (keep your eyes peeled for a very young Daryl Hannah seated at the lunch table with Gillian), Gillian's uptight mother relents and lets the girl spend time at the Paragon Institute where hopefully the good doctors there can figure out exactly what's going on with the girl. At least initially unbeknownst to Gillian, Paragon is aligned with Childress, and Robin once passed through the same hallowed halls in which Gillian now finds herself.
The Fury is downright silly a lot of the time, but it's also kind of fun if you come to it with suitable (perhaps low) expectations. The film oddly shifts tone, especially in the early going, when Peter's initial attempts to escape from Childress' over watchful eye is played largely for laughs (that's a young Dennis Franz as one of two cops whom Peter takes hostage). That sits rather uneasily with some of the more melodramatic plot elements, best exemplified by Cassavetes' over the top performance as Evil Incarnate (think of his Rosemary's Baby character Guy Woodhouse amplified). The best thing about The Fury is arguably Amy Irving, who displays a nice balance of vulnerability and resolve, especially as Gillian becomes more aware of exactly what's going on and what she's gotten herself into. The film devolves into something akin to paranormal Grand Guignol at the climax, with a slew of deaths in rapid succession and a literally explosive finale.
The Fury Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Fury is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Twilight Time with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. While this is far from the sharpest looking high definition presentation that Twilight Time has culled from the Fox catalog, it offers a noticeable upgrade from the DVD, especially with regard to its saturation levels, which are often quite impressive. The film still has the generally soft appearance that hobbled the DVD presentation, and there are the same attendant contrast issues that were part of the standard definition presentation as well. The elements utilized are in very good condition, and the film has a rather swarthy layer of grain, especially noticeable in both the darker interior and nighttime scenes, as well as some location footage where it swarms over the crystal blue sky.
The Fury Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Fury features both a DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix. The 2.0 mix is surprisingly anemic when compared to the 4.0, especially with regard to dialogue, which seems mixed incredibly low (to my ears, anyway). The 4.0 mix offers substantial separation and decent immersion, with dialogue much more aggressively mixed and an overall more fulsome sound, especially in the midrange. The best aural elements here tend to be in some of the busier sequences, like the opening battle with the supposed terrorists, or crowded scenes like the bustling crowd scene that introduces us to Gillian or, later, a meeting between Peter and Hester in a shopping mall. Fidelity is very good, and dynamic range is boosted impressively courtesy of some key moments of frenetic sonic activity.
The Fury Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Fury Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Fury never quite rises to the disturbing heights of Carrie, but on its own smaller scale merits, it's a fun and exciting film. De Palma has always been a divisive director in a way—some people applaud his efforts vigorously, while others accuse him of being a rip off artist who at best manages filmic pastiches instead of anything remotely original. While that accusation often has to do with De Palma's perceived aping of Alfred Hitchcock, in The Fury De Palma at best can only be accused of ripping himself off with a film that is obviously meant to remind viewers of Carrie, at least in substance if not in tone. The film is filled with some good performances, chief among them Irving. This Blu-ray offers very good if not spectacular video and excellent audio, and for those who enjoy some undemanding fare, comes Recommended.
The Fury: Other Editions
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The Fury Blu-ray, News and Updates
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