Fury (2014)
Fury (2014)

Genre: War Running Time: 2 hrs. 14 min.

Release Date: October 17th, 2014 MPAA Rating: R

Director: David Ayer Actors: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jim Parrack, Alicia von Rittberg

 


 

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any movies show the atrocities of war with dour scenarios of cruelty and grisly images of violence. “Fury” begins in much the same way, presenting a grim cadre of tank operators in World War II whose seemingly heartless wartime ethics become heightened through the contrasting eyes of an innocent young soldier. Initially grasping for unearned emotion through stereotyped character development, “Fury” quickly changes course to surprise with shocking, thought-provoking examinations of humanity during conflict. Yes, the inexperienced newcomer clearly represents the last sliver of compassion in an escalating affray of brutality, but his steady corruption marks an enthralling expedition into the real horrors of such struggles for ephemeral victory. There’s no distinct line between good and evil, no knights in shining armor, and only a tenuous grasp on what separates right from wrong.

In April of 1945, Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) leads his five-man squad and their Sherman tank “Fury” in the Allies’ final push across Nazi Germany during World War II. Tasked with rescuing a platoon trapped behind enemy lines, and forced to take on rookie recruit Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), Collier, Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena), and Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) undertake a suicidal mission against an adversary possessing far greater numbers and significantly advanced weaponry. With reinforcements diminishing and supplies limited, Collier and his crew must brave constant ambushes and the threat of the vastly superior German Tiger I tank as they descend deeper into the war-torn countryside.

It’s momentarily artistic, with a touch of symbolism in the cinematography, before it becomes brutally realistic with sustained bullet barrages and graphic violence. The grittiness certainly serves a purpose, reiterating quite often the “war is hell” motif through gruesome visuals and continual commentary on the atrocities of armed conflict. Dwindling humanity in a system of dehumanizing the enemy is also a potent subject, with “Fury” going to great lengths to obscure the lines of appropriateness in combat and proclaim the belief that right and wrong simply do not exist in the heat of battle. It’s a far cry from the classic, bloodless takes on WWII set around the mid ‘40s, like “Battle of the Bulge” and “The Tanks Are Coming,” instead more closely resembling the productions focused on overwhelming fear, disorientation, and unpreparedness, like Vietnam epics “Platoon” or “Full Metal Jacket.”

In analyzing the emotions, tattered ethics of unimaginable pressures, and understandable reluctance toward surrendering to the mindset of detached killing, “Fury” balances controversial, uncomfortable, and superbly powerful concepts. Involving a particularly heavy-hitting rite of passage for a novice still struggling to retain some semblance of scruples, the picture is primed for clashing ideals and discordant viewpoints on heroism. All the while, the rarely seen cinematic adaptation of tank warfare is refreshing and raw, capturing gut-wrenching gunplay and harrowing scenarios of desperate survival. Even in moments of relative calm, there’s a lingering aura of spontaneous attacks, as if an ambush could materialize while characters merely consume rations, squabble with fellow soldiers, or futilely converse with a pretty German girl.

– The Massie Twins

  • 8/10