Review: Fury (2014)
*Minor Spoilers Ahead
I saw Fury in theaters 2 weeks ago and have been dyring to write about it, since it's without a doubt one of the best war films I've seen in recent years. Directed by David Ayer (directed S.W.A.T., Training Day, and End of Watch), the film follows Don Collier (Brad Pitt) aka 'Wardaddy' (badass, I know) as he leads a team of Ally tank soldiers into the final assault into Nazi Germany.
The tank dubbed 'Fury' is composed of crew members Boyd 'Bible' Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Peña), Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) and new recruit Norman “Machine” Ellison (Logan Lerman). Apart from the still naieve and morality-guided Lerman (contrary to his menacing war name), the rest are a bunch of foul-mouthed and seemingly emotionally comatose soldiers whose only human quality is their familial attachment to one another.
The film wrestles with the idea of morality, but in a way that's wholly unsentimental like that of most other war films. It’s about as close to War Horse as Breaking Bad is to Modern Family. They 'kill', not 'murder', S.S. soldiers with a kind of hatred that's so inflamed that the traditional good-guy persona of WWII Ally soldiers usually have is completely imperceptible. This is especially true of Wardaddy; he has no time for bullshit and he makes it clear from the start.
I loved the film because it really captured, as I imagine, the emotional vacuity of soldiers who have seen it all. Yet this is offset by the idea of a close brotherhood, which is symbolically reflected with the fact that they truly fight along one another in what is essentially a metal box. You’re completely immersed in the claustrophobic environment that the men are fighting in, which was a really unique perspective. I didn't even realize that tank combat was such an integral element of WWII battles. It was pretty epic.
While some of the characters seemed somewhat archetype, they still manage to remain likeable. Personally, it was only Norman’s unrealistic naivety that was annoying. True to Hollywood, there’s a forced and uncalled for romantic interest whose death is just as dismissible as her existence.
The film ends gives the viewer a feeling of trying to grasp some kind of meaning to all the horrors of war. Despite acts of heroism by the Fury crew, there was never a sense of the soldiers being the ‘good guys’ – throughout or at the ending. But unlike some war films, where the lessoned learned is that no sense can be made from such violence, it feels like that there’s something to be taken away from it. Perhaps it’s that, yes, violence is senseless – but it’s necessary because the end is peace. That’s just my interpretation; would love to hear what you guys think!
In a nutshell, I think that Fury is almost a must-see for war film enthusiasts. After seeing the film, I basically spent the rest of the day trying to come up with a war name. Any ideas?