Fury (2014)

Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Stars: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal

Running Time: 134 mins.

Gripping, intense, gut wrenching and horrifically graphic “Fury” is an impressive war movie with a strong cast of definitive characters.  

It’s April, 1945.  Hitler has stepped up the war effort and the Allies are making their final push against the Nazis on their home turf.  An experienced and pragmatic army sergeant, Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Brad Pitt), commands a Sherman tank and its crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. They’re outnumbered and outgunned; American tanks don’t stand a chance against the German Tigers; and, as the film states in its tag line, “War never ends quietly.”, the journey into the heart of darkness is going to be plenty blood and guts.

Among the tank crew are driver Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Peña), bible spouting gunner Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeouf), scuzzy loader Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal ) and Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), the new kid recruited to replace a fallen comrade and now the second gunner. The crew, with the exception of Norman, has followed “Wardaddy” through all the theaters of combat from Africa through France and now Germany.

Norman’s assignment to the crew is a mistake, he believes; he’s only been trained to type 60-words a minute and never fired a gun.  So, getting the kid up to speed is akin to pushing him into the deep end of the pool and seeing if he’ll sink or swim.  While the other men have become numb to the endless slaughter of the battles they’ve seen “Bible” tells Norman matter-of-factly at one point “Wait until you see it … What a man can do to another man.”

Facing the enemy in deadly tank battles, Norman catches up quickly to his mates in attitude and ferocity and half way through the film, he earns his own nickname “Machine”.   

After they take a German town, they come upon and even comfort some of the innocent while quickly dispatching the guilty, like a vile SS officer who was responsible for killing children and hanging others considered to be cowards to the Nazi cause.  Wardaddy who is fluent in German is always able to size up situations and takes no prisoners.  

Each actor makes the utmost of his character.  Not a false note from anyone.  Shia LeBeouf is impressive as Bible but the heart of film belongs to Norman.  Of the war, Wardaddy says “It will end, soon. But before it does, a lot more people have to die.”  It isn’t just people dying but their ideals and innocence.  War corrupts souls.  The combat scenes are technically well done and very realistic making you feel as if you’ve been dumped into the middle of a real war, exploding heads and limbs flying – not for the faint of heart.

Lotta says Fury is a formidable war film visually and performance wise.