David Ayer’s new film Fury follows the eponymous tank as she carries a band of American soldiers from checkpoint to checkpoint within the barbaric fields of World War II Germany. While gritty, gruesome, and grotesque, Fury also explores themes of family and brotherhood in a world in which one’s next breath could be blown to smithereens by a pistol, machine gun, landmine, grenade, and any other weapon that has the ability to do so. We also see some fine acting chops all around, excellent special effects, and gripping cinematography that all come together for a cinematic experience that’s been missing for too long…
Fury : The Character-Driven War Film
Fury‘s story, although simple, is captivatingly commandeered by the team of soldiers within the tank. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (played by Brad Pitt) leads the team with cannon-men Boyd “Bible” Swan (played by Shia LaBeouf) and Grady “Coon-(expletive)” Travis, driver Trini “Gordo” Garcia, and fresh blood Norman Ellison (played by Logan Lerman). Seeing the actors collectively display a poignant response to war – each getting a brief limelight to either hold back or wipe away tears of guilt and regret – throws aside the brutal machismo often associated with such films and makes room the heart to set in.
Special effects and props also play a huge role in the effect that Fury has on the audience. These things – body parts, explosives/explosions, etc. – are as realistic as I’ve ever seen in a film. While holding nothing back – like so much as a partial human face in one of the tank’s seats – the film does not waste any of the audience’s time with gratuitous blood and guts. If anything, it makes you hate war for all the right reasons while simultaneously justifying it at the same time.
Finally, a note on the cinematography of Fury: there’s a beautiful contrast between the cramped but cozy interior of the titular tank and the open fields of desolation and despair through which it travels. Wardaddy calls the tank “home,” and with a majority of the film shot within the tank, we as the audience have no choice but to sit back, relax, and get comfortable. After all, it is better to be within the tank and alive rather than without it and dead.
The most prevalent theme in Fury is that of brotherhood. I can’t think of some of the scenes from this film without hearing Prince Hal’s St. Crispin’s Day speech in the background. We really see the familial connections between the main five characters as they grow together while on the warpath. Wardaddy, despite his moniker, is more like the older brother that guides his younger siblings to victory. And while Bible, Gordo, and Coon-(expletive) as the immediate family nominally adopt newcomer Norman immediately, we see the growing pains as the team of strangers become a closer band of brothers.
Fury is rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout.
When watching this film, don’t spend too much time trying to block out and insulate yourself from the horrifyingly accurate portrayal of war. Let it instead move you to a place where you feel the pity and sorrow as well as victory and triumph for every character involved
As the prophet Ezekiel reminds us, God takes no pleasure in the death of wicked, but as a result of living in a world that is continually groaning with the pains of childbirth and is ever correcting itself, war is at times necessary (even though when it is necessary is always up for debate), and it takes films as stirring as Fury to remind those of us who haven’t seen war of that fact and make everyone long for the eternal peace that will pervade the new heaven and the resurrected earth.