Brad Pitt, arguably, began to like acting in war films. After Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds from 2009, the time has come for the well-known star (and the lover of many pre-teen and teenage girls) to appear in writer-director David Ayer’s feature Fury. However, it should be noted that unlike Tarantino’s alternate take on history, Fury is quite realistic and serious, set to leave the real magnitude of war’s horrors with the viewer long after one has walked out of the theatre.
During the last weeks of World War II, Don Collier (Brad Pitt), nicknamed “Wardaddy,” leads a group of soldiers across Germany in a tank they called “Fury.” A rookie soldier Norman (Logan Lerman) is pushed into the group of the professional team, composed of four other Sherman crewmen. The small squad will have to fight against the outnumbering and better-equipped enemy at all odds.
Fury strikes the viewers’ eyes by presenting the awful realities of war. Whereas the film is quite distinct from the fun that Inglourious Basterds is, both films share a certain aspect that not too many films dare to mention: there are no good guys in war. The Allied forces, in both pieces of cinematography, are more of “anti-heroes” than full-out positive characters. In one scene, Collier has Norman execute an armless German captive to enhance the rookie’s skills in killing, as he has been taught to quickly type words on a typing machine, but not to pull the trigger. The viewer finds oneself questioning the moral status of the characters for whom he or she is “supposed” to root, and finds that the acts of the protagonists may be just as barbarous as the ones of the antagonists.
As far as the aspect of reality is concerned, however, Fury resembles Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. That is, of course, not to say that there aren’t certain sequences in which reality is blown out of proportion. There is, for example, an excessive usage of the tracer ammunition, which wasn’t used in such an exaggerated manner during wartime due to the fact that it was considerably more expensive as well as was used mostly for tactical or communicative purposes rather than blazing warfare. The exaggerated amount of it as it appears in Fury may leave the viewer with the impression that he or she is watching a Star Wars movie instead of a feature depicting World War II. Nevertheless, the strong aspects of the film include the fact that authentic Sherman and Tiger tanks were used (after the makers rented them from the Tank Museum in Bovington, UK). Many films set during the times of the infamous conflict use present-day tanks with some sort of an enhancement to make them appear as if they are the machines that existed back in the day. The makers of Fury clearly paid attention to this seemingly small, and yet important detail, and their attitude greatly enhances the appearance of the film, as well as the value of its historical aspects.
Brad Pitt, having previously worn the military uniform in front of the camera, is great appearing as a soldier again. Although any one of the ladies who still has a thing for him may not be interested anymore after seeing some of the atrocities that he commits (or has his squad commit), his performance is solid and adds much to the feel of the war. Supposedly, Shia LaBeouf refused to shower during the filming. Whereas this may have been mighty annoying on the set, I think it speaks levels of what the actor was willing to do to fully pull off an appearance one may expect to see considering a soldier who has no means of taking good care of himself in time of crisis. The rest of the cast leaves me with no great complaint, either.
Steven Price, who has previously composed scores to films like The World’s End or Gravity (the latter earning him an Academy Award), has written a powerful score that, although is not too bombastic, gives off the drama of the men whose life may be at stake at any point perfectly. Through the percussion, piano and other musical instruments, the score speaks volumes to the viewer and provides an appropriate and fitting background for the action on screen.
Fury may not be for everyone. It is not a light-hearted war action flick and offers meaningless fun and blood-spray. It refrains from showing the pleasant sides of war, focusing more on the gruesome tragedy that it is. Nevertheless, it is an absolutely captivating, mostly realistic film that should prove wrong anyone who thinks that war is entertaining, and that good guys fight the enemy and are completely guiltless. It is a fine piece of filmmaking that comes highly recommended for all that it offers.