Fury: The thin red line

Fury is a genre war film that rises above the generic, thanks to believable central performances that deliver its uncomfortably realistic content of battle carnage and moral ambiguities.

Yet director David Ayer doesn’t quite push this last territory far enough, and – for understandable reasons – succumbs to showing good guys battling amid bravery and brotherhood. This is a war film after all.

And so I would call it good rather than great, for you can’t shake off the feeling of having seen a lot of it before, in the war greats – Saving Private Ryan, Thin Red Line, Black Hawk Down…

Yet there are some provocative ironies in Fury, not least that it’s set in April 1945 when the Allies have all but won the war. Yet our American protagonists don't feel part of the victorious team: the Germans are defending every last inch of their soil and many will have to die before peace is declared.

No-one understands this more than seasoned Sherman tank commander Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier – played with great sensitivity by a deglamourised Brad Pitt.


Genre: Drama/Action

Director: David Ayer

Cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal

Storyline: A Sherman tank crew lead by Brad Pitt engages in deadly battle behind enemy lines at the end of World War II.

Bottomline: As Wardaddy informs us: “Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”

Wardaddy commands a tightly-knit crew - Gordo (Michael Peña), Coon-Ass (Jon Bernthal) and Bible (Shia LaBeouf) - who have weathered many battles together. Into this posse is thrown Norman (Logan Lerman), the proverbial war newbie who lacks the appetite for war – and a war nickname. We wait to see if he will find either during Wardaddy’s dangerous mission into the heart of German territories.

The terror and the bloodshed that ensue are in your face – shattered limbs, charred flesh, bloodied corpses. The tone of the film echoes the brutality of its content – filmed by cinematographer Roman Vasyanov in a palette of greys and browns, amid smoke, sodden earth and cold skies.

Wardaddy and his crew are no lily-white heroes. They live by the credo, kill the Nazis or else be killed by them. Wardaddy thinks nothing of shooting a surrendered German soldier, rather than take him a prisoner of war.

Yet, oddly enough, the film is most successful - and the moral compass at its most precarious - in a domestic set piece, rather than the battlefield. Wardaddy and Norman have discovered two attractive German women (Anamaria Marinca and Alicia von Rittberg) hiding in an apartment in a newly captured town. The scene is long, jittery and chillingly informed by the menace of sexual violence. It's a very thin red line indeed that separates the good guys from the bad.

Here's >Mini Anthikad-Chhibber's review of the film Fury.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 10:51:45 PM |

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