WWII through the eyes of a Sherman tank crew
RELEASED IN 2014, "Fury" details the exploits of 'Wardaddy' (Brad Pitt) and his Sherman tank crew during the final month of the European theater of World War II. A meek new guy who knows little about tanks, Norman (Logan Lerman), joins the crew and must learn to kill. Making a final push into the heart of Nazi Germany, the Fury crew makes a heroic stand when their tank breaks down.
Writer/director Dick Ayers wrote the screenplay for 2001's excellent "Training Day." In "Fury" he successfully shows the soldiers’ view of WWII through the eyes of a Sherman tank crew. I know of no other war film that sets out or accomplishes this; Oddball and his crew from "Kelly's Heroes" (1970) perhaps comes closest.
I mainly judge films by whether or not the story keeps my attention. After all, what good is great action, thrills and incredible special effects if the story (or the way it's told) is dullsville, like, say, "The Mummy Returns" (2001) or "Man of Steel"(2013)? "Fury" kept my attention from beginning to end and the characters are all memorable. Speaking of which, the three remaining crewmembers are 'Bible' (Shia LaBeouf), 'Coonass' (Jon Bernthal) and 'Gordo' (Michael Peña).
'Bible' is fittingly an evangelical who strives not to lose his spirituality while brutally annihilating people in the name of war, whereas newcomer Norman is a mainline Christian (Episcopalian). A handful of scripture passages are quoted during the course of the movie, including a couple near the end by Wardaddy. This is an interesting revelation because Wardaddy has become hardened by the war after three years fighting from North Africa all the way to the nucleus of the Nazis. This implies that he was a devoted believer before the war but only a glimmer of his former spiritual affection remains. There are other quality character bits interspersed throughout the film, like how annoying drunk bastages may not be so bad once they sober up.
Beyond the above, the film offers the typical tragic insights about the nature of war. The long final stand in the last act may be unlikely, but it makes for a heroic and thrilling ending to a war movie (yes, it's a MOVIE, not a friggin' documentary). At the end of the day "Fury" arguably ranks with the best WWII movies, like "Where Eagles Dare" (1968), "Enemy at the Gates" (2001), "The Eagle has Landed" (1976), "Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957), "The Dirty Dozen" (1967), "The Thin Red Line" (1998), and "Inglourious Basterds" (2009). As far as comparing it to the overrated "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), the first half hour of that movie is great, but the rest of it leaves much to be desired (remember the lame dog tag sequence?); "Fury" is leagues better IMHO.
The melancholic and moving score by Steven Price is a highlight. Alicia von Rittberg (Emma), Anamaria Marinca (Irma) and Jason Isaacs are featured in fairly notable roles. Speaking of Emma, the brief romance between her and Norman is decidedly forced, which is one of the few negatives of "Fury," but I get the point of that sequence.
THE FILM RUNS 134 minutes and was shot in England.