A World War II film about tank battles featuring Brad Pitt along with a handful of other fantastic actors all at the top of their game would seem to be a film for just about everyone despite its R rating. This couldn’t be further from the case with Fury directed by gritty director David Ayer. Nowhere in the 134 minute run time of Fury do you really feel comfortable with what you’re seeing or hearing from any of the characters in this film. Fury shows the dark side of war that few films dare to shed light on and in doing so, turned in a marvelous World War II action film.
Pitt plays a tank commander nicknamed ‘Wardaddy’ because he is so much older than the rest of the men in the movie. Throughout the film, through dialogue and subtle hints, it is revealed that Pitt’s character also fought in World War I. ‘Wardaddy’ is the leader of a small group of men who each had different roles in the Tiger 131 (really cool for old war nerd like myself). Logan Lerman plays a young army soldier named Norman Ellison who was recruited to type but because of a shortage of men on the front lines, was sent out to join ‘Wardaddy’s’ crew about their tank, ‘Fury’. Norman struggles with the reality of war much like anyone would but his emotions are juxtaposed alongside four men who have been hardened by war to the point where nothing is out of bounds and I do mean nothing.
Shia LeBeouf played the role of Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan, the God-fearing, scripture-quoting gunner who clearly has trouble dealing with what he is doing (killing) but understands that it is his job. LeBeouf’s performance was without question the best one of the film as it seemed he was either crying or on the verge of tears majority of the film. Michael Pena played the role of Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia, one of the drivers of the tank and he and Lerman’s relationship during the war scenes really showed what kind of bond the two tank drivers must have to be successful on the battlefield. The most surprising performance of the film was that of John Bernthal who played Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis, who was basically the handyman of the tank. He loaded the cannon, acted as an electrician and whatever else needed to be done while the rest of the men were doing their jobs. Bernthal’s character is the epitome of the ‘old war dog’ who has just about gone crazy because of the things he has done and seen in the war. Each of these remarkable performances really brought the film together as when they were all working as one, you couldn’t help but marvel at the precision in which they each did their job.
Fury is not a glorious look at World War II or war in general but it is a realistic depiction of what kind of lifestyle soldiers had to live in order to do their jobs in the middle of the world’s greatest conflict. Director David Ayer did an excellent job of keeping a lot of the scenes inside the tank as some of the most important. This kept the bond of the men inside the tank as one of the core values of the film which made it a very clever film. The only knock I did have on the film was that there wasn’t enough screen time for Pitt’s character to really enforce what the other characters had said about him the entire film. This film is available for purchase or rent at the moment but keep in mind there are some very graphic war scenes and situations and Fury is not for the faint of heart.
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