Furious Psychic Powers!
Peter (Kirk Douglas) is retiring from a life working for the CIA. He and his son Robin (Andrew Stevens) are celebrating when they are attacked by supposed terrorists. Peter’s good friend and fellow CIA agent Childress (John Cassavetes) ushers Robin off to safety. Peter has to fight and then flee for his life. Turns out it was all a setup; the CIA wanted Peter dead and they wanted possession of Robin, a young man with powerful psychic abilities. Childress absconds with Robin and Peter is left to search for his son. Through a convoluted process, Peter is able to recruit Gillian (Amy Irving), a young woman who also has powerful psychic abilities, to help track down Robin. The two of them bond, and they follow a twisted and dangerous path to finally reach Peter’s son. The whole thing ends with a literally explosive climax, as psychic might battles CIA machinations.
What a movie. Made by Brian DePalma after the success of Carrie, this one kind of carries on with that tradition, but instead of using Stephen King as source material, they draw on the novel and screenplay by fellow horror author John Farris. What we get is a far cry from the high school and religious themes of Carrie and instead have maybe the world’s first Espionage/Sci-Fi/Thriller/ Horror film. DePalma is kind of inventing a new subgenre here, and although it leans mostly towards the espionage aspects, with long car chases and extended gun battles, as well as political intrigue, the Sci-Fi is fairly obvious and potent, with the Horror being the icing on the cake. Populated with a powerful cast, this movie is of course terrific. The twists and turns are exciting and the pseudo-science is interesting. The characters are fleshed out and sympathetic and the bad guys are the right kind of evil. My only complaint would be that it’s far too long, but then again, I sort of dug the meandering style, and I couldn’t think of exactly where I would make any cuts. And all praise be to that terrific sequence towards the end of the film, where some serious action takes place and hardly a word of dialogue is spoken, and the whole thing plays out in slow-motion with an amazing score (John Williams) floating in the background. It’s a wonderful, dream-like, surreal moment of operatic violence.
Definitely an odd film, a true relic of its time (the paranoid 70s) but also highly relevant to today, The Fury is a fascinating film and worthy of a watch if you haven’t seen it. If you have, it’s well-worth going back to. You can see DePalma working out ideas and set-pieces he would later use so effectively in Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, and Body Double, but that also dangerously succeed here. This is a great movie with a great cast guided by a great director. You can’t go wrong.