Movie Review: Fury
(Note: No spoilers here)
“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.” The dramatic quote from Staff Sergeant Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (played by Brad Pitt), becomes a harbinger of subsequent events in Sony Pictures new World War II movie Fury. Pitt’s line lets the audience know this isn’t ‘your father’s’ World War II movie. Fury reveals cruelty and meanness absent from other fictional movies depicting the war in Western Europe.
There is no ‘glorification of war’ from Writer-Director David Ayer. Fury’s success is born from a strong storyline, great acting, and top-notch special effects. Ayer’s fictional yet historically accurate work tells a story of one tank crew as it struggles to survive the desperate last weeks (April 1945) of the Second World War. The sub-plot which differentiates and elevates Fury is the relationship-under-stress between Collier (Pitt) and Norman Ellison played by young actor Logan Lerman. As the tank’s leader, Collier has little time to expose and numb replacement Ellison to the horrors of war if they are to survive. Ellison’s battle-hardened crew has been together since the North African campaign and must now rely on the misplaced clerk typist to replace their fallen comrade.
Unlike similar films of the genre, Ayers’ Fury reveals the fear and duress Germany’s citizens experienced at the hands of its own military as well as the Allies. In the war’s final weeks, Hitler’s Wehrmacht desperately pursued the aid of Germany’s citizens to take up arms to repel the Allied onslaught into Berlin from the West and East. Ayers effectively writes this essential history into his script.
The cast features Logan Lerman (Noah, 3:10 to Yuma) as Ellison, Brad Pitt (World War Z, Inglourious Basterds) as Collier, Shia LaBeouf (Distrubia, Transformers) as Boyd Swan, Michael Pena (World Trade Center, Shooter, Caesar Chavez) as Trini Garcia, and John Bernthal (The Pacific, The Walking Dead) as Grady Travis. Recognizable supporting cast members include Jason Isaacs (Black Hawk Down, The Patriot, Windtalkers) and Scott Eastwood (Gran Torino, Flags of our Fathers).
Fury is both refreshing and an exceptional addition to the vast assemblage of World War II films. As noted previously, both acting and story are strong. It was refreshing to see Pitt in the role. His character has greater range from that of his constrained role in Inglourious Basterds. Shia LeBeouf and Michael Pena show emotional range not exhibited in earlier work … both are excellent. Viewers may recognize the Walking Dead character Shane in John Bernthal’s role as Travis.