With his 1978 supernatural action-thriller The Fury, Director Brian DePalma dealt with a subject he had explored previously in Carrie: telekinesis.
The story involves a newly retired special government agent named Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas) whose teenage son Robin (Andrew Stevens) has special powers (although we aren’t sure exactly what they are at first). It’s soon apparent after Sandza’s associate/friend Childress (John Cassavetes) sets up a hit on him so he can steal Robin and use him for his own twisted purposes, that the teen possesses something worth killing for. Peter is wounded by the gunmen but is able to escape the attack, not before shooting/wounding Childress in return. He finally makes it back to the U.S. where he plans to track Robin down and rescue him.
Music Composed by John Williams, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra
Meanwhile, at an all girls school in Chicago, Gillian Bellaver (Amy Irving) shares a connection with Robin: she also has extraordinary abilities in the form of telekinesis. We see this first hand as Gillian uses her mind to move a toy train in front of her classmates. Unfortunately this super psychic strength has a deadly downside: when Gillian comes into contact with someone by touch it causes them to bleed profusely. Soon she is moved into a special institute for gifted individuals where she tries to harness her power but when Childress finds out about her, he plans to do the same thing he did with Robin…
With his finely tuned secret agent skills, Peter does his best to evade Childress’ attempts to kill him and seeks the help of another psychic, Raymond Dunwoodie (William Finley) and his old flame Hester (Carrie Snodgress) to get Robin’s whereabouts. Peter finally meets Gillian after she escapes from the institute and she acts as a type of extrasensory liason so he can know how Robin is doing. As her visions grow more and more intense, Gillian can see Robin is extremely damaged psychologically by Childress’ conditioning and knows it’s only a matter of time before he loses his grasp completely.
Although The Fury isn’t one of DePalma’s more popular works like Carrie or Scarface, it is truly thrilling and a very interesting mixture of genres (espionage, horror, psychological thriller). It features some visually brilliant, trademark DePalma sequences as well. The director’s use of techniques such as deep focus, rear projection, tracking shots and slow motion heighten the drama and action, delivering a furious, cinematically extravagant experience.
FURIOUS FILM GEEK TRIVIA
- The scene where Peter escapes Childress’ agents at the hotel were filmed at the Plymouth Hotel. The same hotel/room that was used in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.
- The film debut of Dennis Franz who would go on to be in several more of DePalma’s films.
- James Belushi appears as an extra.