The Fury Blu-ray Review
Directed by Brian De Palma
Written by John Farris
1978, Region B, 113 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 28th October 2013
Kirk Douglas as Peter Sandza
John Cassavetes as Ben Childress
Carrie Snodgress as Hester
Charles Durning as Dr. Jim McKeever
Amy Irving as Gillian Bellaver
Fiona Lewis as Dr. Susan Charles
If her dad had been Kirk Douglas, the plot of Carrie could have gone very differently. When a man's son is kidnapped by shady government forces, he'll stop at nothing to get him back. It's like Taken, but with psychics, Kirk Douglas and plenty of signature Brian De Palma melodrama. Slightly obscure but with cult value and a heavy helping of kitsch? It can only be another Arrow Video re-release.
With a title like The Fury and a leading man of Douglas' calibre, you'd be forgiven for expecting a much different tone and pace than this film delivers. Douglas does seem pretty angry, and there are times when the titular fury does speed the plot along, but it's frequently slow and heavy on the melodramatics. First, though: a scene in which an almost-naked Douglas (he's just been swimming) invades a couple's home, bonds with grandma, steals their clothes and pillows, and slicks his hair back with boot polish. That surprising undercurrent of humour (at which Douglas proves to be more than adept) is just one of the elements that makes The Fury such enjoyable viewing. It's like a cheerier Scanners or Firestarter.
Spartacus aside, I've seen embarrassingly few Kirk Douglas films. Judging by The Fury, I have been missing out. The man and his impressive chin do some great work here, convincing both as a loving father and a government force to be reckoned with. Good shape for an older gent, too. He's a natural forefather of Commando's John Matrix or Liam Neeson's increasingly comical Paranoid Dad character. Amy Irving is also great as psychic girl Gillian – her role in the film made even more interesting due to the fact that she played Sue Snell in De Palma's Carrie (and The Rage: Carrie 2 – another film about an angry person). Not so easy now the shoe's on the other foot, is it, Snell? Andrew Stevens fares less well as son Robin, although he does get some nifty telekinetic tricks to play with towards the end.
Too close to the end, unfortunately. The rest of the time, it tries to be a conspiracy/kidnap thriller and telekinetic sci-fi film, and doesn't quite stick the landing for either. As the former it's too slow and talky, as the latter it's not weird or original enough. There is a fairly cool Cronenberg-style human explosion at the end, though.
The Fury is enjoyably odd, gifted a great pair of lead performances and an intriguing plot. Drenched in signature Brian De Palma style, it may not be the director's best work, but it's among his most fun. Carrie will remain his classic telekinetic masterpiece, but this is a great cult curio with a very different flavour.
Video and Audio:
This Blu-ray re-release gets us an all-new digital transfer of the film from the original camera negative – all the better to see Douglas' monolithic chin with, my dear. It sounds a treat, too. No reason for fury at all.
As we've come to expect from Arrow Video by now, there's plenty of extras to make the Blu-ray version of the film an essential purchase for fans of cult cinema. Extras include Blood on the Lens (an interview with the film's Cinematographer), Spinning Tales (an interview with actress Fiona Lewis) The Fury Revisited (Sam Irvin – intern and production diarist), original archive interviews, Double Negative – a 20 minute De Palma tribute film - and a gallery of behind-the-scenes images.