Fury, film review: Brad Pitt stars in visceral and brutal drama that reminds us war is hell

(15) Dir. David Ayer; Starring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, 134mins
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The Independent Culture

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) in one of this Second World War movie's few quiet moments.

And he's not kidding: Fury is bayonet-to-the-face, grenade-in-the-stomach violent. It is set in the spring of 1945, when the Allies are slowly, painfully progressing towards Berlin, and its characters are horrendously damaged or deadened by what they have already seen and done.

All except wet-behind-the-ears young new recruit Norm (Logan Lerman), that is. His first job under Wardaddy's command is to mop up the blood and body parts left behind by his predecessor. "Just wait till you see it," says Grady Travis (Jon Bernthal) to Norm, with a bitter snarl. "Just wait till you see what a man can do to another man."

 

Like the Sherman tank crew who need to harden Norm, and quick, Fury wants to rub your face in mud and guts. It isn't entertaining, exactly, but it is intensely, joltingly visceral. It hasn't got much plot, but exists instead in an endless nightmarish present, where every option is reduced to kill or be killed.

The one last stand that the tank crew makes when they find themselves outnumbered in the final act is a cliché that the film could do without. But these aren't heroes in Hollywood's usual sense of the word, and this isn't normal Hollywood film-making.

 

It is brutally ugly, and if we are going to tell ourselves war stories, then this is just what they should look like.

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