Jean-Paul’s Rating: 4/5 stars
Bottom Line: War is hell.
You know what kind of movie you’re getting into right away with the opening sequence. A lone German cavalryman picks his way through the aftermath of a large battle. He passes by one of many dead tanks and Staff Sergent Collier (Brad Pitt) jumps from the tank, knocks the soldier off his horse and stabs him dead through the eye after many other stabbings through the chest.
The plot of “Fury” revolves around a tank commander and his crew as the welcome a new and very green recruit to the crew. It follows the recruit’s loss of innocence and every soldier’s loss of humanity. There are two choices when thrown into war; lose your humanity or lose your mind. With the former, you have a better likelihood of coming out alive and you just hope that you can regain your humanity after surviving the meat grinder that is war.
“Fury” has some of the most effective battle sequences I have ever seen since “Saving Private Ryan”. They are realistic, tense, and absolutely brutal. Add to that the fact that much of the action takes place in the compartment of a cramped M4 tank and you have all the makings of a great war film. What makes “Fury” effective beyond just the battle sequences is how it also shows the de-humanizing aspects of every day life when that life is a life of war. Cleaning remains, including a partial piece of a face, from the inside of a tank. Plows pushing a pile of bodies into a grave. Trucks piled high with bodies. Roads, fields, houses, and lamp posts, strewn with the corpses of trucks, tanks, soldiers, civilians and horses. A body run over by a tank for probably the hundredth time. War is hell. We need to be exposed to that fact a lot more than we currently are.
One thing that “Fury” seems to do different than other movies is its portrayal of the chain of command. Yes, the chain exists, but it’s more like a flowing ribbon that gets tied in knots than it is a solid chain. Young officers are treated with almost open contempt even though their orders are still followed. Even SSG Collier, who is the tank commander, only has nominal control of his crew when they are anywhere else except driving the tank. This behavior strikes me as much more realistic than what you usually see in movies about war.
“Fury” is not for the faint of heart, but if you have a strong stomach, you should go see it. It pulls no punches. My only minor quibble is with the final epic battle scene which I thought didn’t make much sense for the Germans to throw so much useless firepower at the lone tank stuck in the crossroads, but maybe that shows the desperation of the Germans at the tail end of the war that they would throw wave after wave after wave at the killbots, er, tank, for even the minorest of victories.