By: Anthony Manrique
Brad Pitt returns to Germany to kill Nazis, although this time, he’s fighting in the frontlines in David Ayer’s war film, Fury. Pitt portrays tank commander Sergeant Don Collier fighting deep within enemy territory in Germany as the war approaches its end. His five-man crew consists of Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf) as the main gunner, Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) as their loader, and Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena) as the driver.
At the beginning of the film, Collier and his crew emerge as the only survivors of their armoured division in a graveyard of destroyed American tanks. The crew’s original bow gunner has been killed in a prior battle and his replacement turns out to be a recent recruit, Norman Ellison, played by Logan Lerman. Having only been in the army for eight weeks, Ellison displays reluctance in shooting and killing the enemy, saying, “my conscience is clean; I’m keeping it that way.”
In one scene, Collier tries to educate Ellison to the harsh realities of war by forcing him to shoot a German POW begging for mercy. As the story progresses, the crew, now transferred to a new armoured division, moves on to capture a small German town as their objective. The scenes in this part of the movie start to become even more intense, with battles accompanied by astounding visual effects, from exploding tank shells, whizzing bullets, to bursts of flame and glowing tracer rounds enveloping the battlefield. It is also in this scene that Ellison starts to transform into a more determined and relentless killer, shouting curses at the Nazis that he kills during the course of the battle.
The climax comes shortly afterwards, as a landmine disables their vehicle, while 300 elite German S.S. infantry approaches the crossroads. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination until you see the film.
Overall, the movie’s action-packed fight scenes, stunning visuals, and gritty, appealing atmosphere give a lasting impression of what war would look like: hell. Some of the aspects of the movie’s plot are borrowed from other contemporary WWII films, like the climax that bears a similarity to the end of Saving Private Ryan. Pitt continues to play a rugged, violent, and ferocious warrior for the most part, akin to his role in Inglorious Basterds, but with his character’s deep sense of morality and vulnerability to the horrors of war, this role is an outstanding exception. Lerman’s portrayal of Ellison, however, is a bit cliché. His innocent kid-turned-killer persona has already been used in the characters of Pvt. Pyle from Full Metal Jacket, or Cpl. Upham from Saving Private Ryan, and unlike them, the portrayal seems to try too hard. All the action and the drama that is needed in a good war film make up for what the film lacks in its distinctiveness. Nevertheless, Fury still manages to deliver a satisfying experience for fans of war movies and moviegoers alike.