Reflections of the Third Eye
3 April 2013
The Fury (1978)
Topic: F
One of Brian De Palma's lesser known works, at least around where I live, I recently watched The Fury for the first time in 25 years. I had forgotten that I had actually seen it before, but as the movie progressed, I began recognizing certain scenes, while a lot of the rest seemed completely unfamiliar.

This is I think typical of this movie, and a lot of De Palma's films -- there will be long sequences with dull dialogue where you wonder why they weren't edited down, and some dubious acting and bizarre plot twists, and then suddenly there will be a sequence of 5 or 10 minutes that is just dazzling. De Palma here had a finalized story-line to work with (from a novel), and didn't script himself, which is good news for those familiar with some of his auteur derailments.

At the same time, the script of The Fury shows some of the director's typical weaknesses (lack of logic, inconsistent characters, etc), and it's too bad that a third party wasn't brought in to tighten up the narrative flow, strengthen the logic, and remove weak dialogue. So, ultimately, it looks very much like a typical De Palma work, a B-movie with some dazzling cinematography and a few quite powerful scenes.

The good news is that the basic premise of the story is pretty interesting and at least to me in 2007, one of the assets of the movie. The notion of the two young psychics, both victims rather than masters of their powers, is an arresting idea, and while the terrorist angle is unnecessary, I could imagine someone turning The Fury into a pretty good movie today.

The second asset is, to my mild surprise, Amy Irving, who delivers a terrific performance, and actually seems a little too good for this occasionally hokey movie. She's believable, convincing, and often moving. I read some snide comment about her over-preparing for B-movies, but for The Fury at least, I am grateful for this commitment. Her shock at her own uncontrollable powers is brilliantly performed, and makes for those sudden jumps in your attention, when the movie has dragged on for too long. Very nice work.

The other actors seem to work on routine; Kirk Douglas acts as if he's in a B-movie about spies, and has some bad dialogue to deal with. Andrew Stevens looks right for the part, and while not a convincing actor, his creepy hunk presence seems appropriate, especially towards the end of the movie. Cassavetes is OK, but not more, and looks somewhat uncomfortable with his black suit and busted-up arm.

Some of the camera-work is excellent, and as always with De Palma, there are a few show-off pieces where he goes into long complex montages that aren't really motivated by the context or narrative development, but are nevertheless exciting too watch. The feeling is, as often, that a lot of the other stuff in the movie he doesn't really care for, as long as he can deliver these 5-minute masterpieces of cinema craft here and there.

Ultimately, thanks to the arresting basic premise, the occasionally masterful direction, and the performance of Amy Irving, I enjoyed The Fury a little more than I expected to. I can see how it may appear ludicrous or bizarre to others, but that wide range of responses is what you get most of the time when the director is Mr De Palma. 7/10

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 12:02 AM MEST
Updated: 10 August 2013 12:35 AM MEST

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