Gritty, raw, tense. FURY, written and directed by David Ayer, is the tale of members of a WWII Sherman tank crew that have seen the horrors of war through many battles. Brad Pitt plays “Wardaddy” the patriarch figure and sergeant in charge of the tank and its crew. Shia LaBeouf portrays “Bible” a scripture spouting soldier that constantly appears on the brink of defeat; Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal play “Gordo” and “Grady” respectively. They are joined by a new recruit, Logan Lerman’s “Norman” with only eight weeks of training – and none in a tank or war, to replace their fallen friend. The story follows the (very) quick transformation of Norman from ideal-laden young man who doesn’t want to kill, to a hardened soldier who kills out of necessity.
Wardaddy is a hard man, but in private moments you see the toll war has taken on him – pain, suffering, regret – and his fight to keep his emotions hidden in order to lead his men through harrowing situations. This emotion is contrasted with Norman’s innocence. Pitt does an excellent job of portraying the father figure in his effort to move Norman to a place where he can survive in war. Although it is a very dysfunctional relationship, Wardaddy’s motives are always to help Norman persevere. In one scene, Wardaddy brings Norman into a home where the SS elite have killed themselves, after ordering the murder of any German that won’t fight. Norman is shown that while he may wish for peace and hold the belief that some people are innocent, the reality of war is gruesome and innocence cannot always be found.
Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.
The film could benefit from some editing to help move the story along in places and cut items that either go unanswered or don’t add to the actual story. The final scene is one example of an overextended drawn-out shot. Long shots that are used to evoke emotion, establish a setting, or convey meaning, but in this instance it appears that the shot was drawn out to match the final piece of music, rather than having the music match the shot. Another example is a scene which lingers on a shot of Brad Pitt’s back. There is no explanation for what is seen, leaving the viewer to simply wonder what happened. While this is a good film, additional editing could make it great.
Fury is intense and will certainly draw you in – at times placing you at the edge of your seat. If you’re not a fan of extreme violence and language, you should skip this flick – it’s riddled with both. BUT, if you enjoy a really good war movie, a story about human dynamics and raw emotion, check out Fury!