“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent”
“Fury” is an honest portrayal of the brutality of war, the toll it takes on soldiers, and how those soldiers manage to fight on in the face of overwhelming odds. Make no mistake, this is not a movie for the squeamish. “Fury” tantalizes us with calm, and then hits us square in the jaw; and this happens from jump street.
As always, very minor spoilers below the trailer; nothing that will give away the overall plot or ending.
The movie opens on the smoking remains of a battle. A lone Nazi soldier is riding a horse through the calm after a battle. Peaceful, until Brad Pitt (playing “Wardaddy” Collier) stabs him in the eye. Then calmly, he pets the horse, and sends it on its way. This is a regular occurrence throughout the film as moments of calm immediately transform to battle transform to moments of calm.
The Brutality of War
The first causality of war is innocence. We see Ellison join up with Wardaddy’s tank as the new assistant driver. Ellison, who will earn the name Machine by movie’s end, is as raw as they come. A typist who was trained to type 60 words a minute, he’s been in the U.S. Army for 8 weeks.
Throughout the movie, we see Machine struggle with being born into war, of becoming a soldier. This struggle is evident as he struggles with shooting the first Nazi he sees – who then proceeds to destroy a tank with an anti-tank weapon. As penance, and to get Machine to keep his head in the game, Wardaddy forces Machine to kill a Nazi soldier who begs for his life. Machine’s loss of innocence has begun.
The Toll of War
As the movie progresses, we see other soldiers: Swan has found God, Travis has found anger, and Garcia tries to hold on to a modicum of humor.
And all five men find brotherhood.
These men are capable of surprising acts of kindness toward each other, but can turn on each other in the blink of an eye. A moment later, all is forgiven. They are closer than family, and stand up for each other no matter the cost.
Watching the seamless transition from anger to acceptance, and then cycle back the other way, is a testament to the writing, the directing, and the acting of this film. It serves to remind the audience of just how harsh of an impact that killing other men in the service of your country can be. It reminds the audience that our soldiers sacrifice part of who they are so that we can live our lives.
The toll war takes on soldiers.
The Desire for Normalcy
The crew of Fury even manage to remind us what we take for granted in our lives. A decent meal. Music. Love. They remind of these things, and they find them where they can. They grow jealous of others who find it when they themselves had no luck.
They are jealous because others get a taste of normalcy, and are reminded that while they are fighting so that we can enjoy these things, they are denied them at the same time.
We are a little early for Veteran’s Day here in the United States. Even so, please take a moment to remember those that have served. Thank them if you know them. Ask how their days are going. Show them they are appreciated. “Fury” reminds us that these men amd women have seen hell, and are lucky to have returned.