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Fury


How do I count them, all the WW II movies Iíve seen since I was a kid. Itís a genre that has run through several cycles. There have been the older, patriotic, bloodless movies with stars like John Wayne, David Niven, William Holden. Those were made by the dozens in the late 40ís and through the 50ís. There were the big production, but over-ambitious ďcast of thousandsĒ movies like Tora Tora Tora, Pearl Harbor or The Longest Day. There were the witty British movies with lots of accents, cynical dark comedies like Catch 22, insider Nazi dramas like Downfall and Valkyrie, the more recent gruesome and explicit dramas like Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers, procedural dramas like the current series Manhattan and even weird fantasies like Inglourius Basterds or The Tin Drum. One could easily write a large two volume history of WW II movies, one volume in Europe, the other in Asia.

Do we really need another? I donít know the answer exactly, but Fury is quite an addition to the genre. It falls into the gritty realism group with Saving Private Ryan. In Fury, Brad Pitt is ďWardaddyĒ a tough veteran captain of a tank crew that has survived North Africa and D-Day and fought its way far into Germany. Itís April, 1945, the final days of the war in Europe, and the SS is staging a suicidal withdraw, impressing children into its army and scorching the earth. Wardaddy is commanding a small tank column and are on a desperation attack, trying to save a cut off unit before they are destroyed by the SS. His newest crew member, Norman (Logan Lerman) is barely shaving, trained to be an army typist and completely terrified; he might get the whole unit killed if Wardaddy canít turn him into a useful crew member.

The plot of movies like this is fairly predictable, in the sense that we know who wins the war and when. The question will be the fate of this little group of men going into battle against a too large force, against German tanks that were far better than the American Shermans. There are villages stormed, night time firefights, civilian victims and rampant destruction. What prevents Fury from being too procedural, however, is just how gruesome and intense it is. Even compared to Private Ryan, itís graphic. Bodies are shattered, pierced, incinerated and hit by artillery shells. Corpses are embedded in mud being run over by tanks..thereís not a trace of mercy anywhere in hell. The cast, was excellent, an ensemble of cultural and personality types, all at the edge of their lives every moment. The staging of the battles is terrifyingly believable and relentless, with little digital garbage, seeming to rely mainly on props and pyrotechnic effects. The movie is not about a subtle plot or a thought-out historical idea; itís just about the last days of the Gotterdamerung.

Iíd give this movie a high recommendation, if you can take it. It really might be too much for some people and definitely would give kids nightmares. The trailer doesnít do justice to just how intense some parts are. If you want to know why your grandfather didnít want to talk about the war, you will understand after you see Fury.