Of any conflict, the second World War is the most glorified, especially when compared with the many wars since then. The enemies were known, the cause was just, right and wrong was never questioned. People did what they had to do. Given this, WWII has been romanticized, with the horrors of war neglected or forgotten. Fury does not forget. Every moment is used to perfectly convey the horrors of war. Despite what other movies or games would have you believe, war is anything but clean. That is constantly on display. Private Ryan, eat your heart out.
Fury follows a small group of tank operators in the eponymous tank during the last few weeks of WWII. Norman (Logan Lerman) joins the crew led by Don Collier (Brad Pitt). Norman’s orders were switched. After spending 8 weeks in basic training, learning to be a clerk, he was sent to the front line as a replacement operator, lacking any experience. The film does an excellent job establishing the characters, and the bond they share, but showing war through the eyes of the inexperienced, the innocent.
Norman is a window, acting as the typical every man thrust into an unwitting situation. While the window troupe usually has mixed results, it works perfectly here. The story couldn’t have been accomplished any other way. Taking place over a handful of days, each of the three distinct acts showcases a different element while growing the characters. The first, coming to grips with battle, the second, trying to recapture a bit of humanity, the third, standing your ground and doing what’s necessary. Each flawless demonstrates it’s purpose, demanding the audience’s attention.
Saving Private Ryan has been hailed as the best WWII movie for not only telling a sound story of war, but also exhibiting it’s horrors. Upon retrospect, only the invasion of Normandy beach, the opening scene, displayed the violence, with much of it curtailed after. Fury is the opposite. Every moment is harrowing, whether from anger, loneliness, fear, or most of all, violence.
Grounding the film is the sense of realism not only from the performances, but the set pieces and design. Many movies of late have a modern gloss, with the settings or characters seeming anachronistic, whether through their clothes, hair, language, or general cleanliness. Fury is dirty and gritty through and through. Every actor seemed as though they were born in the 1920s. Brad Pitt, despite his recognition as a leading man, was the perfect choice for the lead. Logan Lerman excellently encapsulated the naivety of idealism. Jon Bernthal embodied the sort of man everyone hates, and Michael Pena balanced out the crew. Shia LaBeouf, despite his recent bouts of public insanity, gave an incredible performance as well.
Those who fought in World War II are hailed as the greatest generation. Despite the cost, they did what was necessary for the country, and for the world. Though deserving of the moniker, it is deceptive, idealizing their actions while concealing the toll. Fury puts that toll front and center, with every moment pulse pounding. Be forewarned, this is one that will stick with you.
Did Fury overwhelm you? Which performance impressed you the most? Comment below!