Filmmakers of World War II movies, one of Hollywood’s favorite subjects, have a difficult task when portraying the difficulties of war and depicting the sacrifices that each side had to endure. Many wartime films suffer in their portrayal because the filmmakers are either too afraid to go too far in showing the real gruesome nature of war or they scale back their depiction of the war and try to focus more on the toll that is taken on the soldiers fighting the war, but, at times, something seems to be missing. Fury is unapologetic in its tale of the horrors of war and equally focuses on the factors that deprive the characters of their humanity. Prepare yourself.
Sergeant Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Brad Pitt), is the commander of an M4A3E8 Sherman tank called “Fury” who, along with his four-man crew, are active participants in the final Allied push towards Berlin. A crew that has been together through various campaigns of the second world war, including Africa and France. Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf) is a God fearing man who’s struggled with the moral code of a religious man and a man who yearns to survive. Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena) is a loyal soldier who has seen the horrors of war and shelters himself from allowing those horrors from completely engulfing his soul. Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) is a product of his environment. A mentally unstable soldier who, with each mission, appears to lose a little more of himself to the war, a man who will never readjust to life away from the tank. Newest member, Norman “Cobb” Ellison (Logan Lerman), is a clerk pulled from his duty of clerical work and sent to support the need for troops in the trenches. A soldier only by name, with no earthly idea of what lurks out on the battlefield.
The crew is tasked with the assignment of leading a squad of tanks to protect an Allied supply compound during the last push into Berlin. The crew must contend with Ellison’s convictions as well as the resistance from the German army. The complication of completing the task borders on impossible. Collier must will his band of brothers to one more stand as an SS squad closes in on their location. A stand that will define them, not only as soldiers, but as men.
Pitt’s performance relies on both parts father figure and parts howling commander. His depiction of a man that has truly endured the worst of what the war can throw at him and finds the strength to push on, not for himself, but for his men, is haunting and engaging. Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal provide a fantastic supporting cast that compliments the emotional landscape of the crew. Each brings a different aspect to their characters complications with dealing with war and each provide wonderful performances. Logan Lerman’s character at times feels cliche’ but the young actor find his place within this ensemble cast and performs his role admirably. Shia LaBeouf continues his career resurgence with a performance of a lifetime. His portrayal of a devout religious man who struggles with his acts of survival and is haunted by his acceptance of the world around him is captivating and worthy of consideration at awards time. Director David Ayer creates one of the finer war pictures you’ll find.
Overall, Fury is a solid World War II movie that will remind you of the sacrifices that our soldiers made and the horrors of warfare. It will be interesting to see if this movie will be a contender at awards time.
3 1/2 out of 5
After Credit Scene?