Reviewed by: David Simpson
war in the Bible
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
armies in the Bible
death in the Bible
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
|Featuring:||Brad Pitt … Don 'Wardaddy' Collier
Shia LaBeouf … Boyd 'Bible' Swan
Michael Peña … Trini 'Gordo' Garcia
Jason Isaacs … Captain Waggoner
Logan Lerman … Norman Ellison
Jon Bernthal … Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis
Jim Parrack … Sergeant Binkowski
|Director:||David Ayer—“End of Watch,” “Training Day” (writer)|
|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures)|
Innocence: What makes a man a man? When is a job most important? What has to be sacrificed?
It’s April, 1945. The Second World War is drawing to an end. The Nazis are retreating, and Allied Forces are making inroads deeper into Germany. As they fight to close the war, missions are still being created to push the Germans back, rescue pinned down American soldiers, and take over occupied towns. Leading a charge is the tank Fury and it’s crew of five men. Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), the leader of the crew, Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Peña), and Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal). They are joined by fresh-faced rookie Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), who has been in the army eight weeks and trained as a typist. Now an tank assistant driver, he must learn the ropes fast to what has been a steady crew for three straight years until their regular AD was killed in their last fight.
Fighting prejudice towards the “new guy,” and their anger against the Nazis, they roar their tank through Germany, completing a number of against-the-odds missions including destroying a very heavily armored Tiger tank, despite losing three of their own tank company. As the team bonds, they are forced into positions of choosing what is most important to them. Norman is faced with having to kill for the first time, and the pressure of having to kill in order to protect his tank crew no matter what. Characters are tested, personalities challenged, habits broken, death thrown in their faces, and the overall choice of how strong their team actually is.
This is a war film. Be warned, it is heavily violent, and filled with excessive amounts of death and carnage. The “truth of war” is something you don’t experience until you stand in the midst of it. Thankfully, many of us do not have to endure that experience, but this is a strong example of what it was like in war in the 1940s. This is brutality, in the everyday situations, that men had to make to protect their own lives, or else risk losing them. There are parts of “Fury” that remind me strongly of “Saving Private Ryan,” and these are both profoundly powerful, as well as truly shocking.
There are hundreds of deaths, most from machine gun, or rifle fire, but many others from tank cannon, grenade, hand-gun, or heavy artillery. Some men are run over by tanks, and others are shown hanged for war crimes. Many of these deaths are graphic, with a lot of blood and realistic end results. We see men lose limbs, parts of their faces, burn to death, get shot with multiple rounds, or stabbed. We see men dying, and post-death, in various stages of agony. All of this brings home the “truth of war,” and why each one of us should be grateful never to have to return to those days. It’s been done for us, by those brave souls who protected our homelands, at their own cost.
Like many war films, the language is coarse and heavy. There are numerous f**ks (over 100), s**ts, and other vulgarities and some profanities [“G**-d*mn” (20), “Oh J*sus” (1), “Oh G*d” (1), “Jesus Christ” (1)]. Some of these are used in moments of great tension, with life on the line, but many are not, as it laces daily conversation of American soldiers. As for sexual content, Norman Ellison is shown kissing a girl, and it is implied they have sex. This raises his standing in the group as he is seen to have “become a man.” Other than a couple uses of sexual dialog, there is nothing else in that area in this movie.
There are several themes to be raised in “Fury.” The characters, having been raised differently, with varying backgrounds and experiences, all describe war a different way. There is a strong theme of hatred towards the Nazis, and the Schutzstaffel (SS), the core group of Nazis heavily bonded to leader Adolf Hitler’s plans and prejudices. A common phrase used by the tank crew in moments of intense battle is “f**k you,” and it is directed towards any Nazi soldier that they have lined up in the sights at the time. This hatred and prejudice is born out of seeing their countrymen die each day at German hands. It is challenged when Norman arrives, with his natural empathy, compassion, and strong sense of justice, making him unwilling to callously kill an unarmed German prisoner. This mercy is broken up by his tank crew, who tell him that they will die if he’s not cold-hearted enough to shoot a prisoner or soldier, whether armed or unarmed, whether they are a seasoned veteran or young child.
These soldiers deal with loss, grief, bitterness, and anger every day. It’s easy to lose your way with these emotions in telling a story. In “Fury,” however, it doesn’t stop with these. It takes us to the other side of mercy, love, and self-sacrifice. It’s not just shown in the Americans either, it is brought out in small portions among the German people, and to some small extent, the German soldiers. This is at odds, to many other WWII movies, where the Nazis are seen as the mechanical arms of Hitler, mercilessly killing anyone that stands in their way. We see empathy and are allowed to create an emotional connection to the Germans. We see the destruction done to them, to their civilians, and their towns. Overall, it balances out the film in such a way that you don’t leave the cinema hating a certain people group.
Lastly, this film does have references to religion in it. Shia LaBeouf’s character is nicknamed “Bible” for a reason. He’s a strong, God-fearing, Scripture quoting, church-going man, who believes in the power of prayer, and in seeing soldiers saved as they lie dying. He doesn’t waver in his beliefs, despite the light-hearted scorn of his fellow tank-mates, and they respect him for it. He states his belief in the Lord’s protection, and the crew are comforted and bonded through this stand.
Against the tradition of many Hollywood movies, this belief system and way of life is not shown to be corny and fake. It is a genuine part of his life, and has a true effect on everyone around him. Does he have a conscience for all the Germans he’s killing? No. But among his fellow soldiers, that heart of Christ comes out. Is he perfect? No. But he does what he can in a very difficult environment. Being a non-smoker and teetotaler, there is a wonderful scene towards the end, where they are facing life and death, that he shares a group drink with the crew. Some may say he sold out, but I think it shows a man who recognizes his position, and honors the men around him without guilt or shame. Overall, I came out of it having respect for the character, the movie’s references to religion, and for Shia LaBeouf as well.
This is a superbly made film, directed and written by David Ayer (“End of Watch”). The characters are wonderfully thought out, the dialog beautifully timed and delivered by all involved. If you are able to deal with the violent content and language of war, this is one of the strongest movies of 2014, dramatic and suspenseful.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.