Brad Pitt returns to World War II to kill some more Nazis in Fury. Except this time he’s not beating them with baseball bats, he’s shooting them from a tank. That is where most of this movie takes place too. It follows a group of American soldiers in Nazi Germany near the end of the war. This was a very good war film, with solid performances across the board. It took a hard look at a particular aspect of WWII, not glorifying it, but showing how violent the war was. It did this as well as any other war film I’ve seen since Saving Private Ryan.
This film will be most commonly talked about for the strength of its actors, as it should. Pitt led the team of actors in an Lt. Aldo Raine like role, but this time with more humanity and depth than his Inglorious Basterds character. The youngest of them all was Logan Lerman who played the new, inexperienced soldier, formerly a clerk who could type 60 words a minute. He was the standout to me because his character had the biggest change in the movie and added another dynamic to it. Plus, this is the guy who seems to be the most popular choice to play Spider-Man. After seeing this, I am fully on board with seeing him in that role. The big surprise in this film for me was Shia LaBeouf’s performance. He’s been given plenty of crap in the last few years, but in this he gave a strong, believable performance.
Except for two scenes, this movie was an enthralling, beautifully directed, and filled with great war action. The tank battles were done incredibly well. It doesn’t employ lots of quick cuts and shaky camera to make the action sequences interesting. It is very smooth looking, allowing you to understand everything that is happening. There is a lot of technique and work that goes into effectively operating a tank in battle that I hadn’t realized before, and this movie executed them remarkably well. One of the scenes that was slower than the rest of the movie was the first one. Though it wasn’t until after the film that I realized this was a brilliant scene that set up the rest of the movie so well. We are told that the soldiers are in Nazi territory from the beginning, and the tone immediately suggests that nowhere is safe for them in Germany, that the Nazis could be anywhere waiting to ambush them. Once the tank, named Fury, arrives at the American camp we are introduced to the characters we will be with the rest of the film. We see Pitt as a tough, experienced leader, but once he is away from everyone, you seem him break down and understand how the war has affected him. This is important because there are some scenes where he does some unlikable things. When Lerman’s character, Norman arrives, he is an innocent kid, completely unaware and unprepared for the war. He gets almost hazed by the rest of the men, but he seems at that moment the most sane person there. LaBeouf also has a line that acts as a theme throughout the film, about what a man can do to another man.
The second scene that didn’t fit with the rest of the movie for me was the dinner scene. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen it. The movie seemed to be separated in two halves, with this scene acting as the intermission. While it’s crafted to develop Lerman’s character, it was a drawn out scene that took me out of the movie and messed up the pacing. I don’t know how long it lasted, but all I took away from it after it was over was how much of an asshole Jon Bernthal was. It just seemed unnecessary amongst the rest of the film.
There is a lot of violence throughout, but it never seems gratuitous or over the top. The director, David Ayer, doesn’t glorify it, but shows how it changes you. We see this personified by Norman. He throws up after seeing a piece of a man’s skin from his face, and at one point asks to be shot instead of him shooting a Nazi. By the end of the movie he almost enjoys killing them because of what he has seen them do. It is an act of revenge. But after a while it seems normal to kill them. He even admits that he liked killing two soldiers. We see long shots of the numerous dead bodies on the ground as a result of the war, reminding me of the famous one from Gone With The Wind in one certain scene at the end.
You have to understand and accept the fact that these men have been hardened by the war. I’ve heard complaints from people saying that they didn’t like any of the characters because they were acting like jerks the while time. I can understand this because most of the time they are harassing the guy you’re supposed to be rooting for. But you have to remember scenes where these characters show they have decency that has been lost from years of war. You see the terrible events they go through, and realize how much of an impact it has on them. This is a message I think Ayer wanted to convey, which he did well in my opinion.
There is not much story here. It is more of a look at a couple of days in the lives of these characters. A slice of life if you will. They drive the tank through different cities in Germany to take them over, and deal with Nazis on their way. What carries the movie is the performances, seeing what these people went through, and how much casualties there were during the war. Whether or not you are rooting for the characters, you are interested in seeing where they go and what their fates will be. It is a film that keeps your attention and doesn’t hold back.
To end my thoughts, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie. It had great performances from everyone in it, its action sequences were shot wonderfully, and though harsh at times, it was a great look at WWII. David Ayer is directing the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, and after this and End Of Watch, I am confident that he will do good work with that property. Within its own world, this movie is solid, well made war film. Definitely recommended.