Movie review is by Matthew S. Phinney
Colombia Pictures (2014)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peňa, Jon Bernthal
Director: David Ayer
Button up, you lot, it’s time for “Fury!”
David Ayer’s “Fury” is a gritty, mud-caked drama set in Nazi Germany near the end of WWII. “War is hell,” the resonating theme of the film, loss, and the do-or-die front line attitude are the bedrock on which the motley crew of Fury stands. Newcomer, Norman, represents the normal, uninitiated, everyman whose transformation symbolizes what the civilian viewer will ultimately go through. Our boys in the belly are a notable acting bunch lead by Brad Pitt who, to kick this flick off, goes full Superman to deck some Nazi CO off his pony. Game on.
Pitt, staring as SSG Don “Wardaddy” Collier, plays the battle-hardened tank commander of the Fury. The rest of the personalities come from Gunner: Boyd “Bible” Swan (LaBeouf), Loader: Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Bernthal), Driver: Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Peña), and new crew addition Norman “Machine” Ellison as co-driver.
It’s worth stating that this movie’s story could easily have been called “The Evolution of Norman.” In the beginning, Norman (Lerman) is served up into a world he doesn’t understand or agree with morally or ethically. He doesn’t believe in killing and clings to the idea that he has a clean conscience and will do no evil. We are privy to his gentle nature when he encounters Emma, a German girl in a newly captured town. Although he is instructed by Collier to take her to bed as a spoil of war, Norman and Emma emerge having seemingly found love in the midst of the ugliness of war. She serves as the catalyst for his true transformation when, shortly after, a barrage of artillery brings the entire building down on Emma. From this, Norman has found a reason to war.
Not all can be perfect in the world of Hollywood war movies, however. For example, some might accuse the Nazi artillery crews in the movie of intentional grounding. Others may insist testing Fury for steroid use after it shrugs off a direct hit from a German Tiger and dispatches the enemy war wagon. But to these gripes I say: it’s a damn war movie and I like my war movies like my propaganda. Pro ‘Merican. What?
Throughout the movie, we are given glimpses into Don’ Collier’s humanity from the stories of the crew. We are led to understand that he wasn’t always the unrelenting force of war he presents.
“Bible” seems to be the voice of reason and relatively level head of the crew. Aptly named for his implied religious background and knowledge of the Bible, he too struggles with the reality of war and as he states, “Wait until you see what a man can do to another man.”
Bernthal, for having a relatively small part, plays it perfectly as Grady “Coon-ass” Travis. He is the wild dog, as stated by Collier. Grady sounds like a bootlegger and is the antithesis of Norman. He presents as less educated, scared therefor angry, and coarse in every manner. Grady borders on unlikable, and in doing so becomes one of the most likable characters in the mix as Norman’s presence eventually influences his character arc.
I could talk for days on the symbolic nature of the characters but I’ll wrap this novel up by saying that the finale of this film is the kind of cinematic last stand that we all hope to watch. FURY and its few prepare to hold their ground against overwhelming Nazi odds. A tooth and nail pitched effort worthy of Thermopylae.
If you haven’t yet watched this film, I must recommend you do so. Fury pairs well with Scotch and steak, medium rare, and might I suggest Dalwhinnie 15.
MATTHEW S. PHINNEY Affectionately called Guttas. Born and raised Boston, MA. Currently living in Albuquerque, NM. Two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion. New England Invitational boxing champion. Winner of the Discovery Channel’s boxing TV show “The Fighters.” Head coach to UFC top 10 middleweight fighter, Jorge Rivera. Instructor for RangerUp’s Train the Troops tour training U.S. Marines at Pendleton, Miramar, and Yuma. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor. Mentored by George Hand in the art of operations against human trafficking. Movie buff. Wine Enthusiast.
Images courtesy of Wikipedia