The other film that i had watched that was good enough to provoke some musing.
Even in during Nazi Germany’s last breaths it tank commanders still faced dangerous odds, and it falls on “Wardaddy” to get his men through in one piece.
Anti-War films set in WW2 have been done to death at this point, how many more times can i see gritty and realistic war thrillers where men muse about human nature, die horribly, and cry over their dead brothers in arms? Well Fury surprisingly finds a way, by switching its perspective to the crew of a tank, whose metal skin offers at times dubious protection against the weapons it’s almost defeated enemy can field and its ruminations about what war allows people to do to one another being both subtle and severe.
The movie has an atmosphere that recalls the claustrophobia of Das Boot at times, and deconstructs the feeling of invincibility of rolling around in a tank might give at first glance. The American Shermans were far from the best armoured and performing tanks in WWII, and were often blown to pieces against the Nazi’s better and more powerfully armoured tanks along with other anti-tank weapons. They often relied more on numbers and their ease of construction (which wasn’t much of a benefit to the crews who were shot to pieces) of their tanks to see them through engagements, and this comes to head in the film with a particularly tense fire fight against a much larger Tiger tank.
All of the characters are given moments to show their humanity, whether its one of them praying with a dying man, to another reflecting how he doesn’t think he’s a very good person, and an enemy soldier showing an astonishing amount of mercy in a situation where it perhaps wasn’t warranted. As a result the movie effectively shows the dichotomy present within war, between all who fought in it.
Great performances also help in communicating the film’s themes. Brad Pitt plays his Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier as a man who has convinced himself to dehumanise the enemy while struggling to stomach what he does. Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Michael Peña, and even the detestable Shia LaBeouf give lend the movie their talents to great success.
There are some things that don’t quite work in the film, there’s a horse motif with an obvious biblical reference that is a bit too on the nose for me to take seriously. An extended scene in an apartment building while being necessary thematically slows the film down and ends in a completely expected and stereotypical way.
The music is a bit melodramatic at times, and the movie’s ending is a bit too overwrought for my liking.
Lastly, the tracer fire coming from the machine guns makes it look like their firing laser beams and was a bit distracting when i first saw them going off.
Fury ultimately finds ways to engage me as a viewer using seemingly tired techniques and themes. It does so through great performances, and themes communicated through deeply personal and involving ways. It also functions as a solid action movie, with segments of great tension and clear affecting visual work.
If you’re looking for a great WWII movie, or just a decent film altogether you’ll probably find it in Fury.
OUT OF FIVE