“Ideals are peaceful, history is violent” says ‘Wardaddy’ (Brad Pitt) to his new young gunner ‘Norman’ (Logan Lerman). It’s part of an ‘education’ into the new soldier’s survival as their tank ‘Fury’ storms its way through German towns in April 1945.
The war is near its end; Hitler has thrown one last ‘hail Mary’ by forcing woman and children to bear arms and fight for the ‘national cause’ and anyone that doesn’t will be hung by the ‘SS’, who are roaming through the villages and nearby forests.
The tank crew consists of ‘Wardaddy’ (Pitt), ‘Bible’ (Shia LeBeouf), ‘Gordo’ (Michael Pena) and ‘Coon-Ass’ (Jon Bernthal). They’ve been together since the battles of North Africa years earlier and have built up a necessary camaraderie, which is evidenced by their catch cry ‘best job I ever had’.
It’s a job that entails killing as many German soldiers as possible. This crew is good at it, considering they’ve survived this hell long enough and “Wardaddy” is entrusted by his superiors for mission after mission, regardless of poor intelligence or troop support.
The interaction between the soldiers in the small confines of a Sherman tank is the emotional driver of this movie. Writer/Director David Ayer (End of Watch) has brought together characters from different backgrounds and ethnicities who are all held together by the decisions of “Wardaddy” and his ability to keep his head, whilst others around him are losing theirs, literally.
Ayer creates an atmosphere where doom is around every corner even in moments of civility, which are rare. In ‘Inglorious Bastards’ Tarantino mastered the lengthy dialogue scenes with no action, teasing the audiences that the hammer could drop at any second. Ayer has done the same here, allowing his characters to walk a thin line between good and evil.
These are the scenes that offer the most, the moral ambiguity that is clear cut in peacetime but gets decimated in times of war, where consequence of action is AWOL because the very fabric of society has been shredded by the void fueled by indiscriminant killing.
It’s the killing that ‘Wardaddy’ knows he has to do, which doesn’t mean he hasn’t stopped looking for anything that’s real in an unreal world.
Lebouf is brilliant here, as the scripture reciting ‘Bible’, he has a connection with ‘Wardaddy’ that the others do not and with his mini sermons galvanizes the crew in their time of need. The battle scenes are epic, with coloured tracer bullets ripping through smoke filled backgrounds littered with rubble and death.
Regardless of weather this tank crew make it out of this hell or not you do feel invested in their survival and as a viewer that’s all you can ask.
Made in the realistic vein of ‘Saving Private Ryan’, this movie isn’t for the faint-hearted but if you enjoy war movies with good character development then this is for you.
hallymustang rating 4/5