Renting at the Reels: Real “Fury”

By: Kaitlyn McKay, Columnist

In April 1945 — late into World War II — the Allies make a final push into Germany. Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) is a tank commander and leader of a five-man crew, including Bible-thumping Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Peña), and psychotic Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis. The team also includes replacement for their recently deceased fifth man of the group, Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a recent recruit with no combat experience who prefers not to kill. The war is winding down with the odds favoring the Allies, but both sides are exhausted and desperate. Wardaddy and his crew are outnumbered and outgunned by the losing Germans, who will not go down quickly or quietly on their home soil.

 

“Fury” is cruelly realistic and violent and aims not to shock, but to present war how it really is. It features faces literally blown off, limbs being shot off, bodies smashed so much by tanks that they have become part of the mud on the ground and men who have grown so use to it all that it no longer phases them. At its core, however, the movie ultimately follows a group of soldiers in the war and when the movie ends, the war goes on and their story is only one of many.

 

The film’s strength is that it does not sugarcoat war but instead depicts things how they were. American soldiers have been displayed as heroic for decades in film, especially in WWII films, but are shown here with the same vices that any enemy soldier would be given in any other war film. This is first notable about thirty minutes in, when Wardaddy demands Norman to kill a German soldier who surrenders and begs to be spared, holding up pictures of his family and saying he has a wife and children back home. Wardaddy does not care as he throws the pictures on the ground and physically forces Norman to kill the soldier.

 

Any originality the movie could have had is undermined by typical war clichés. The characters are all archetypes, two-dimensional and only defined by the personality traits of their nicknames. “Fury” also has traditional (or stereotypical, however one would see it) plot elements often found in war movies. It is not difficult to determine the fate of a squad of four veteran soldiers and an innocent youngster at the end of the film when they make their last stand against the Nazis: It is the nature of the genre.

 

The film is brutally realistic in its depiction of war and does not sugarcoat it by having the Americans — the “good guys” — be as morally gray as possible. It is not as good as it should be when said characters are not interesting and follows typical war movie plot elements. Its main saving grace is that it does not set out to be a grand epic, but to tell a story as honestly as possible. It is the type of film that is worth a look if one is interested in war films, but is only worth one look.

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