~ ITEM: Fury (2014) – IMDb
~ ITEM: The Bovington Tank Museum, home of `Fury`, and a genuine German Tiger Tank
9 out of 10 tiny elf hats.
~ FURY IS A great war movie; what was it like for the ordinary tanker, to be in the hell of war? This is not a backslap anti-war war movie; nor a rah-rah Saving Private Ryan. It is Hollywood, so you get a ‘rag-tag band of misfits’ headed up by Pitts’ scarred veteran Wardaddy, and The Newcomer, to whom war is not only hell, but utterly unfamiliar, The Kid.
Binks & Wars
I have read hundreds of books about the wars, thought about the wars, built war models as a kid and listening to my Grandfather talk about the war. In terms of movies and series, I’ve watched 2001’s Band Of Brothers, the 2010 follow-up The Pacific, and I’d say Fury gets all the details pretty much straight, and the realities of war– the chaos and exhaustion and sudden loss of friends and comrades in arms– bang on. Not only that, but the Germans are not cardboard cut-out extras, all teeth-gnashing and nasty Nazis.
The film is shot non-digitally with older-style detail, and a gritty palette of greens and browns and dingy grey. The representative but non-historical events depicted in the movie take place over one harrowing day, and depict the highs and lows of human nature in a time of conflict. Writer-Director David Ayers gets the balance right: these men are a small family of brothers, fighting under terrible conditions for a just cause. War Is Hell, even if you’re on the side of good.
Other Stuff & Things
Unlike the regrettable stylized and over-the-top Inglourious Basterds, Pitt is at his very best, without chewing any furniture, or copying other actors. Wardaddy has hidden depths, we learn, when near the end of the movie, ‘Bible’ (played by Shia LaBeouf) is quoting that book, and Wardaddy tells him what chapter and book it came from.
An interesting side-note to this movie is the very public collapse of Shia LaBeouf’s mental health over the past couple of years. During the training (3 months) and shooting (3 months) for the film, Brad Pitt took a broken and eccentric LaBeouf under his spiritual wing, and helped that fame-wrecked young man into something of a spiritual rebirth, and becoming a Christian. May God bless & keep him: Hollywood Is Hell, of a sort.
Wheels For Reals!
The other amazing thing about this film is the presence of these huge machines lumbering around on the screen– they are characters on their own. Ayers depicts them as the tankers found them: part home, part weapon, part castle, part confining claustrophobic nightmare. ‘Fury’ herself is a genuine WW2 tank, as is the giant German Tiger-tank seen in the middle of the movie.
SPOILER– in the battle between 4 Shermans, and one Tiger, we see what British, Canadian, and American troops had to face, with mostly undergunned and underarmored tanks versus the over-engineered, well-gunned and rarer German machines. There is reason behind the German name for the nimble but weak Sherman: The Tommycooker, after a World War I era trench stove.
That restored Tiger 131, (a Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E)— captured in Africa, and repainted and fitted out for this movie– is the only still fully operational one of its kind, kept in loving repair and operation by the minders at the Bovington Tank Museum in England. Well done, gentlemen!
Finally, In Conclusion
Fury is a grim and moving reminder that, as as Shakespeare has Marc Anthony say, standing over the slain Caesar, War. Is. Hell.
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
(Julius Caesar, 3.1.254-275)
This movie has a lot of realistic violence, and should not be seen by pre-teens or children.
It would be remiss of me to note that Binkling 1 (formerly known as Baby A) took his father to the movie last evening, and paid for everything from his own hard-sweated wages. Thank you, son.