Fury – Review
Brad Pitt is once again leading a unit of Americans in their fight against Germans during World War 2. The difference from his Inglorious Basterds role is this story is a fully realized dramatic story of him and the four men under his command in the claustrophobic confines of a tank they call “Fury”.
Once again we are reminded that war is hell. It is also dramatically illustrated in this effort as a conflict surrounded by mud, filth, blood splattering at every turn, gore and death at every turn, gas and exhaust fumes suffocating the breathable air itself, bodies discarded, crushed, burned or mangled and soldiers with faceless expressions that barely resemble anything being normal.
The film starts out rather impressive with I can only conclude was an homage to the film “Patton” as we see a lone soldier coming into view out of the fog. What transpires next is a stark reality reminder that no matter what we read or hear on the 6 O’clock news or hear from the accounts of soldiers returning home that overall once again war is hell, as well as being hell up close and personal.
With “Saving Private Ryan” as the template for war films Fury is unique in that it doesn’t really have much of a large moral theme or real sub plot mission to speak of. This film is dutifully dedicated just to the these five men in their tank they call home and how it has in some way made these valiant men both patriots and zombies to some degree. They know they are fighting for their country, but the ravages of war has crushed almost the normal life out of them. They (unlike Saving Ryan Ryan) intend to kill everyone with a ruthlessness that seems to step just a step beyond the role to fighting with honor and duty, resulting in them fighting a war that is hell and a manmade soulless hell of their own making. They both hate and love each other to some degree which is starkly illustrated with the displays of hate and conflict whenever they are all collectively outside the tank and love and affection for each other whenever they all are inside of the tank. In some ways the tank helps to provide them some solace as an obvious escape from civilization or lack thereof.
What’s good about the film first and foremost is Pitt once again as the Sargent gives a very fine albeit bleak performance as a man who has had his spirit stripped away. He’s on auto pilot and intends for his men to operate accordingly; if they are going to war with him they kill without question. Pitt also carries himself quite believable as someone who has natural leadership skills and while he initially seems very similar in many way to the soulless scared face Sergeant Barns character in the film “Platton”, his Sergeant “Wardaddy” on the other hand seems to be soulless only in certain moments, eventually showing what remaining vestige of humanity he has left bubbling up in the form of deep affection for the well-being and protection of his men.
What was a clear drag on the film was a 20- 25 minute scene involving Pitt’s men arriving in a small German town to what I can only describe as their breakfast at Denny’s moment. There were some fried eggs and coffee, two attractive German girls serving them, piano playing and singing and some light hearted discussions on sex, but beyond that this particular scene seemed so out of place to the rest of the film I’m still not quite sure what the director was trying to say there other than a possible momentary rewrite that did not really work.
The tank battle and close encounter fighting scenes were very impressive, though I had a real problem with the visual tracers of the armament fire looking more like something more suited to a laser gun burst from a George Lucas Storm Trooper in “Star Wars” with their unique red, green and blue after glow. Also the director does manage to give the entire film a feel of authentic detail and real war weight.
Ultimately, Fury is good looking, well-acted and keeps you drawn and connected to these five brave souls plight of trying to stay alive in a war that is just weeks away from ending. Where it misses its mark a bit is the story construct doesn’t always seem emotional connected to some greater good in the form of a final victory. These five men will have to be dragged out of their tank and convinced at gun point the war is actually over, otherwise they probably will never stop killing and fighting, which is duly illustrated by a common line uttered by all one time or another in the tank, “Sergeant, this is the best job I ever had”.
3 -1/2 Stars