After successfully traversing the intricacies of the thriller Carrie, director Brian De Palma next turned his attention to another mind-bending thriller The Fury. Though based on another book about teens burdened with mental powers sometimes beyond their control, the source material by John Farris wasn’t as rich as Stephen King’s masterful chiller, and the resultant film was not really in the same class. There are effective moments and some good performances, but the film was not the imposing follow-up to Carrie that De Palma wanted, and time hasn’t done anything to make it seem now like a lost gem.
Distributed By: Twilight Time
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH
Run Time: 1 Hr. 58 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 03/12/2013
Because his son Robin (Andrew Stevens) has telekinetic powers much desired for use by the government, Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas) is seen as a liability by the head of the operation Ben Childress (John Cassavetes) knowing the father wants a normal life for his son. So, Childress arranges an assassination on Peter which appears to Robin to have been successful whereupon he’s whisked away to a secret government installation for testing others with acute mental abilities run by Dr. Jim McKeever (Charles Durning). As his abilities become more and more powerful but unstable, Robin is taken by his handler/lover Dr. Susan Charles (Fiona Lewis) to a secret country home. Meanwhile Gillian Bellaver (Amy Irving), another teen with similar mental acuity, arrives at the institute, and she immediately begins establishing a mental connection with Robin. When the still-alive Peter realizes that Gillian can lead him to his son, he arranges through his own mole (Carrie Snodgress) in the agency to break her out and take her some place where they can make plans to find his son.
The Production Rating: 3/5
The film’s almost two hour running time is much longer than is needed to tell this simple story. Director Brian De Palma pads the length with several scenes showing Peter escaping his would-be assassins (a good chase scene evolves from this, but there’s also a lengthy sequence with some people who provide him with food and clothes that goes on too long), several gory sequences where Gillian’s mental abilities combined with her own unsteady emotions cause people to begin bleeding uncontrollably (there are three of these moments, at least one too many since the menace is established), and the escape scene which is filmed needlessly in slow motion blunting its shock effect. On Robin’s side of the fury ledger there’s a bit more variety as he mentally attacks some Arabs at a carnival (thankfully not all filmed in slow motion, only the last part of it) and inevitably turns on Susan with especially crimson-stained results. But the pacing is sometimes sluggish, and while we empathize with these victimized teenagers, the script doesn’t really allow us to explore their psyches much leaving them as one-dimensional victims. And the film’s explosive climax, the most memorable sequence resulting from the film, doesn’t hold up particularly well in retrospect with its multiple takes in slow motion revealing too many tricks of the filmmakers’ trade.
Amy Irving gives the best performance in the film as the emotionally rocky and unhappy Gillian. Desperate for answers about her condition but frightened of the adults around her whose compassion seems fake or forced, she etches a terrific portrait of the victimized teen on the verge of a real breakdown. Andrew Stevens has effective moments, too, though we aren’t with him enough in the movie to see him transition smoothly from a relatively well adjusted athletic teen to a brooding psychopath. Kirk Douglas plays the driven father with believable emotions and a dogged determination to get answers. John Cassavetes gets to play the devil incarnate again as the grinning death head masquerading as a nice guy.
The film is presented in its theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is delivered in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. While some scenes retain a very pleasing sharpness, clarity, and good color, many scenes do not. Darker scenes bring on a milky contrast and a distracting loss of detail and sharpness. Black levels are more dark gray than black with shadow detail being similarly affected. Flesh tones are usually believable. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The disc offers DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 and 2.0 mono encodes. The 2.0 track is anemic even if it’s likely truer to the theatrical release prints. The 4.0 is the better of the two tracks even if there is no surround activity at all with sound spread instead across the fronts with dialogue placed in the center channel. There is also an occasional pop and some slight scratchy noise to be heard in quieter moments. ADR work is quite dry and very noticeable in a couple of sequences not being matched particularly well with sound which was recorded live.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
The isolated score track presents John Williams’ brooding score in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo which sounds quite clean and marvelous.
Special Features Rating: 2.5/5
The theatrical trailer runs 3 minutes in 480i.
The enclosed 6-page booklet contains some wonderful stills and behind the scenes shots, the film’s poster art on the back cover, and movie historian Julie Kirgo’s celebratory essay on the film.
The Fury doesn’t find director Brian De Palma in nearly as secure territory as he was with Carrie or with such later thrillers as Blow Out and The Untouchables. Still, fans will be glad to get a high definition upgrade for the movie. There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested should go to www.screenarchives.com to see if copies are still available. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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