“Wars never end quietly.”
Brad Pitt stars and co-produces the action-drama Fury set in April 1945 in Germany during the end of World War II. David Ayer (Harsh Times, Sabotage) directs and writes the screenplay with methodical pacing as audiences take an intimate and harrowing journey with a five-man U.S. Army tank crew fighting the Nazis in their homeland.
Pitt’s performance as Staff Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier ranks high as so does his M4A3E8 Sherman tank crew in the 2nd Armored Division: Technician 5th Grade Boyd “Bible” Swan, well played by Shia LaBeouf, PFC Grady Travis, played by Jon Bernthal (TV’s The Walking Dead), Cpl. Trini Garcia, played by Michael Pena, and Private Norman Ellison, played by Logan Lerman, a typist untrained in tank warfare tasked to the new assistant drive position. These soldiers display all sides of emotions in their characters from highly moral to cynical to sadistic.
The movie pulls no punches and definitely hits the audience with realistic and often graphic war violence, but it’s the effect of this violence on the characters that gives this film its amazing emotional drive. Ayer’s top-notch direction includes many shot from a first person perspective that launch audiences directly to the graphic fighting scenes. Ayer also uses many exterior settings full of wildlife and isolated areas as soldiers of all ranks struggle with the physical and mental aspects of war.
“We’re not here for right & wrong,” Wardaddy tells his crew, yet the audience gets poignant asides where he’s shaken to his core, which is ultimately and dramatically revealed mainly through his interactions with Bible. Wardaddy’s sense of duty never wavers. “We are the rock to break that wave,” he says as they face seemingly insurmountable odds as a highly competent and cohesive team.
Pitt makes the leading man role look easy, especially with his truly memorable voice cadences and interactions speaking German while Logan Lerman holds his own in his star making role as Norman. “I’m trying to teach you something. I need you to perform,” Wardaddy says to Norman as his crew faces multiple enemies including a German Tiger I tank and the Schutzstaffel (SS).
Jason Issacs (The Patriot, The Green Zone) makes a strong impression every time he’s on screen as Cpt. Waggoner who tasks and explains important missions. As Sergeant Miles, Scott Eastwood (Clint’s son) continues building his burgeoning acting career that began with his father’s 2006 film Flags of Our Fathers. Anamaria Marinca and Alicia von Rittberg play two German women in a uniquely key sequence in the middle of the film that develops several intriguing characters by exposing their true morals beneath their tough, protective emotional layers.
The tank is nicknamed “Fury” that reflects the characters’ struggle to follow orders and live through this war. Some characters can cope better than others, but all are vulnerable to the atrocities from the weapons of war as well as “what a man will do to another man”.
Audiences also get personal glimpses of those life experiences…on both sides. The war predictably creates a surprising, depressing, tense, and often morbid environment for these characters. “I’m trying to keep my crew alive…you’re getting in the way of that,” Wardaddy says to Norman.
Familiar themes of loyalty, rivalry, and survival permeate the plot throughout the approximately two hour and 14-minute running time. The actors easily make the audience forget they are watching a scripted film while the talented set designers, sound technicians, costume designers, and stunt people enhance the authenticity and realism to high levels. Steven Price delivers an amazing musical score that make a powerful impact, but does not reflect the music of this era.
Filmed in various locations in England, Fury gets a solid recommendation for the emotional performances, plot, and accurate portrayal. Filmmakers get high commendations for creating a memorable story that many people assume it was based on true events though it does occur within real historical war events and elements.
Look for a possible prequel project in the future that covers the earlier activities of Wardaddy’s crew when they were stationed in different areas around the world during World War II. Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout.