World War II was one of, if not, the most brutal of all wars. There have been many depictions of the many horrifying and point-turning events on film. Steven Spielberg succeeded in making devastatingly powerful depictions of the Holocaust (Schindler’s List) and the Invasion of Normandy (Saving Private Ryan). Clint Eastwood made two films depicting the war on Iwo Jima from the perspectives from U.S. and Japanese troops (Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima). The new WWII film, Fury, David Ayer (writer of Training Day; director of End of Watch) and his team make a heart-wrenching film that not only depicts the horrors of war but showing the good and bad between the Allies and the Axis Powers.
Fury opens up with a prologue stating that it’s April 1945. The Allies have entered the European theatre in Nazi-Germany. Hitler becomes desperate and forces every man, woman, and child to join the military, while others suffer. Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) is in command of a Sherman tank nicknamed “Fury” with his crew consisting of three other men after their assistant driver has been killed. Their names are: Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf; the only role along with Holes where he doesn’t suck), Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Peña), and Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal; The Walking Dead). They have been together since the North African Campaign (“I started the war killing Germans in Africa, and in France, and in Belgium. Now I’m killing Germans in Germany,” says “Wardaddy” at one point).
Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) comes in to replace their assistant tank driver. The only problem is that he has no battle experience. He becomes scared, and wants to go home. “Wardaddy” teaches him how to fight as they are on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.
Every single war is hell. Ayer does a brilliant job capturing the bleak reality of World War II with graphic scenes of carnage reminiscent to Saving Private Ryan, music by Steven Price (Gravity), and the sensational battle sequences with the sweeping cinematography surrounding them. A big plus for those scenes is that the camera moves very smoothly while we see the tanks getting damaged. On the other hand, when the soldiers shoot their weapons, the shots look like they are coming out of a Blaster from Star Wars. Ayer uses that odd technique to color code the bullets’ paths.
There are many religious imagery and themes scattered frequently throughout Fury. Boyd Swan is nicknamed “Bible” because he quotes the bible and says grace before a meal. There is also a scene where Wardaddy and Norman meet a German woman named Emma and her cousin. Norman takes Emma to bedroom to read her hand palms, and talks to her about the lines on her hand resembling the Ring of Solomon. He reads that she helps and understands people, and she will have someone true in her heart one day. This depicts the trustworthiness between the Allies and Axis Powers.
Pitt’s Wardaddy is far from Lt. Aldo Raine from Inglourious Basterds. He does happen to have a little bit of that essence in this movie, but he’s more emotionally evolved. He puts his past behind to fully embrace his role in the war. His tank is his home, and his crew are like family to him. He trusts them, and couldn’t do anything without them. He becomes a father figure to Norman to fully understand the means of being in the war. One of the ways to stay alive in the war is to keep fighting. This is one of the best performances of the year. I would be surprised if Brad Pitt didn’t get nominated for an Oscar. Leading the great cast, we have a harrowing yet powerful WWII film.