Movie Review: Fury
“ Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.” Are the words Brad pitt utters halfway through the movie. Deep in enemy territory, remarking on his last years of fighting, he is a chiseled, grim instrument of war. He shows no remorse for the enemy and only has the most basic of humanity. He feels duty and revenge. He has slain hundreds of soldiers over the years. He is an example of war and its effects on a human being.
This is the world that Fury puts you in. This isn’t the heroic tale of winning a battle, defeating the bad guys, and saving the day. This isn’t filled with pompous American glory with love, courage, and action. This is War. It is as brutal as it gets. The destructive actions that a man can do to another man is simply unspeakable. However, this is a point in history that did happen. This is a War that changed the world. And War never ends silently. Fury, directed by David Ayer (End of Watch, Sabotage) is a visceral, loud, grim, brutal, and action packed film that underscores the almost demonic chaos of war while putting perspective into the hard realities of World War II. For any video gamers that are familiar with Gearbox Software’s Brothers in Arms series or Call of Duty: World at War, you’ll definitely in the right vibe for this film. Even then, the results will surprise you.
After several year of bitter fighting in the European Theater, defeat in Germany is imminent. With the war approaching its end, the allies are stopping at nothing to end it. Hitler calls on every last citizen fo Germany to fight. From children to teenagers to young adults. If a citizen could hold a gun, they were going to fight tooth-and-nail to the last breath for their homeland. Enter the M4AE38 Sherman tank crew, named “Fury.” Brad Pitt stars as the tank commander “WarDaddy”, Shia La Bouf as the cannon operator “Bible”, Jon Berthal as “Coon-ass”, and Micael Pena as “Gordo.” At the beginning of the film, their assistant driver is killed in action. The crew makes its way back to a forward operating base, where a replacement has been found. Logan Lerman plays as private Norman, who has neither seen the inside of a tank nor experienced the harsh realities of war. But war transforms people and throughout the film, viewers will see a transitioning of sorts for the crew. The story is solid and emotionally gripping. At times, it also cracks a few laughs, thanks to Michael Pena’s character and his Hispanic nature.
Fury’s biggest draw isn’t the story, which is solid throughout. It is the acute, unerring accuracy to which the film depicts, most especially in the European Theater of World War II. Viewers will be surprised to know the movie has a very minimal uses of computer generated effects. What you see is actual, practical effects and props. The tanks, the explosions, and the film locations are all real and through wise filmmaking, are given brutal life. In fact, the only real CGI used are the tank rounds and tracer fire from firearms. During the tank battles, you could feel the trembling terror. When gunfire lights up the sky and when tank shells make their mark, viewers are pulled into the battle. This is made even better by exceptional sound design and mixing. Gunfire is incredibly distinctive amongst specific weapons and tank rounds howl through the sky, tearing away at the landscape like a brutal demon from hell itself. In some movies, when a tank fire its primary weapon, the barrel fires and then an explosion instantly happens. One never sees the actual round being fired, as if it were done via teleportation. In Fury, viewers see and hear the rounds, which makes tank warfare terrifying and deafening. In some cases, the rounds actually bounced off the tanks, accurate to personal first-hand account from the war.
The presentation goes further by also displaying the brutal biological destruction of the end of World War II. Bodies are literally torn and maimed in the action sequences. Limbs are sheared off of bodies like a knife through butter. Soldiers are set on fire and boil with the heat. Heads explode from .50 caliber rounds and bodies are perforated with gunfire. The film also uses old-fashioned filters to give the movie a grim visual view, making the movie, especially toward the end, truly feel like hell on Earth. This is war in its grim and brutal fashion. It’s reality in Fury is realistic but has a line crossed. The director himself even said that despite all the violent carnage in Fury, it doesn’t come close to the real thing. The music, composed by Steven price (Gravity) provides a terrifying and charged energy into the movie, providing the heightened sense of life-and-death danger in Fury.
The only real fault that I can give the movie is a lack of a more concrete ending. It’s no cliffhanger as it does properly close, but it would have been nice to see something there instead of implied. In addition, history buffs will take note of the final act, which is a massive action sequence. The finest members of the German Army, the SS, versus Fury. It becomes a case of the Battle of Thermopylae, as made famous in Zach Snyder’s 300. This is the area where the film may lose some of its realistic portrayal as, it simply could not happen. The tank and its crew are elite and deadly but there is no way that could have happened.
Fury is a brutal, grim, and compelling action and war film that no one will soon forget. Brad Pitt and the rest of the cast provide a compelling a narrative but it is in the filmmaking and depiction of the realities of World War II that really drive and incredibly thrilling experience. For History buffs and war film goers, you don’t want to miss this.
Distributed by: Sony Columbia Pictures
Running time: 2hrs 14min