The Skinny (No Spoilers)
Fury is the “This is why we can’t nice things” of war movies. Taking realism to a whole new level, Fury, in an extremely violent fashion, blitzkriegs its themes directly through your Belgium, not giving a damn how you feel or its effect on you. With a damn good cast that includes the marginally attractive actor Brad Pitt and Optimums Prime-groupie Shia LaBeouf, Fury addresses not only the amazing horrors that man is willing to inflict upon his fellow man, but also what man must do to himself to be able to inflict those horrors. The tanks battles are a wonder to watch. The acting…well, it gets the job done. It runs 2 hours and 15min, but you wouldn’t know that while sitting there. The story is fast moving, forces you to care about the character’s fates, and does a hell of a job during the final battle. Go see it, but prepare yourself for some serious violence beforehand. This is not for the faint of heart.
The Deep Dive (Spoilers after this point. BEWARE!!!)
Oh, you have already plunged, through film, into the depths of the human psyche when confronted with war? Well, have you done it in a freaking tank!!!???
Fury takes place in the last few days of World War II (April 1945). The Americans have entered Germany and Hitler has declared “Total War”: every man, woman, and child must fight against the invading Americans or the SS will kill you. Brad Pitt plays a tank commander that has been fighting Nazis since Northern Africa (1942). He, along with his tank crew that includes Shia LaBeouf, has been fighting nonstop since the beginning and has the scars to prove it. After losing one of his crew in a gruesome manner, Pitt is forced to take on a new soldier, played by Logan Lerman, that has never experienced combat. For the next two hours, the audience witnesses multiple tank battles, sneak attacks, and moments of chatter and planning before further battles and sneak attacks. The climax of the film comes with a suicide mission, due to the tank breaking down and a lack of reinforcements, which involves stopping hundreds of Nazi soldiers with only 5 men and an immobile tank. As you can guess, hundreds of Nazi’s die and the only member of the crew to survive is the new guy.
The soul of the movie lies in the effects three years of ceaseless violence has had on these men. The tone is set three minutes into the film after Pitt stabs a Nazi officer through the eye and then recoils physically a few seconds afterward. The audience imagines Pitt’s inner voice saying “It had to be done, It had to be done”, over and over again.
In fact, the mental necessities of war are so soul crushing; the tank crew must divorced their selves from the civilized world. No beauty can exist in their world. The emotional numbing required to experience and commit this level of violence is simply too great. The scene that brings all this home occurs about half way through the film. Pitt and Lerman, having barged into two young ladies apartment, attempt to recreate a normal civilized life by drinking tea, reading the paper, bathing, and making love. But soon the rest of the tank crew drunkenly bursts in, telling horrific stories from the war and acting barbarically. However, sprinkled throughout the movie are moments where the armor comes off and their original humanity is allowed to shine through. This heart wrenching story forces us to ask: What must you turn into to win a war?
Negatives? Kind of. The acting does what is necessary, but no Oscars will be coming down the pike. Pitt often times falls back into his character from Inglorious Bastards. I’m not upset by that, but it does say that Pitt did not do enough to distinguish the roles. I respect the devotion to the main theme running through Fury, however some viewers might find the movie thin for that reason. I didn’t mind it, but you might. If you enjoy war or action films, I strongly encourage you to buy a ticket. I have never seen tank battles like this and seeing them on the big screen had an impact. If you don’t and are squeamish, it’s 50/50 call.