“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”
Spoiler: The movie is full of war cliches’. The movie opens with a man on horseback emerging from a bank of blue-grey fog. They pass through an area full of muck , tyres and bombs, tanks etc. Ayer’s FURY is grim, bloody and unrelenting. It fully captures the absolutely horrific nature of war. Apparently Fury is a part of his latest entry in the ongoing study into the habits and habitats of the killer male. Fury pits a tank filled with five American soldiers with their own emotional problems at the tail end of World War II as they struggle to fight off a small army of Nazi soldiers that are closing in on them. Once you get involved in the film, you are subjected to every bullet wound, every explosion of sharp shrapnel, every wound.
Though the performances of all five primary actors are great, the two that stood out for me were Logan Lerman as Norman, who gradually evolves from an inexperienced typist to a battle-hardened warrior. Joe Bernthal as Grady, a brutish, ill-tempered loader who constantly mumbles. Brad Pitt plays Sergeant Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, the commander of an M4 Sherman tank who is ragged by this war so much that it is all the character knows. Shia LaBeouf and Michael Peña aren’t given enough screen time, but work well with what they’re given.
The film on a technical level is terrific. Ayer ditches his hand held method for still shots and dolly rigs, Every frame is very well thought of. It has many similarities to the movie ‘Lebanon’ (A film set inside and told entirely from the perspective of a crew of a tank in the Middle East) in many respects but not too similar too. The Production Design here is top notch and for those into their history there is much to enjoy, not least of which is that this is the only movie in history to feature an original working Tiger tank, care of Bovington tank Museum.
As said, it is not about the plot. There are few stories going side by side. We’re basically just watching what soldiers experience in the field or inside the tank. The other story here is about a recruit, whose only skill in the job is typewriting, forced to kill no matter how old or desperate the enemy is. His point of view is meant to portray a soldier’s growth into the battlefield; we first encounter him known for his incompetence towards violence, and then slowly subsides his sensitivity and starting to gain the same attitude of his crew. Other story is about Brad Pitt and his war against his emotions and war from his point of view.
Overall Fury never quite ascends to the level of excellence offered by other world war movies such as Saving Private Ryan but it still remains a relentless and an unflinching account of the unspeakable nature of war. As LeBeouf’s character says,-
“Wait til you see what a man can do to another man.” When we see it, it’s certainly not pleasant, and yet we can’t look away”