by | Nov 18, 2014 | 0 comments

A Film That Properly Depicts the Horror of War

There are few films that are able to portray the true horror of war. In fact, there is little or no material that comes close to immersing the common citizen into the true horror of fighting. Media, now a days, and especially video games, portray war and death as a game and diversion. Action films make shootouts and battle seem like cool moments that only badass warriors can survive; it frankly is an insult to all soldiers in the world and countries suffering from war. David Ayer’s Fury not only is the best war movie since Saving Private Ryan, but it truly shows the dirty and dreadful truth of combat.

Fury tells the story of a tank crew in World War II. The crew features a diverse crew: the alcoholic driver Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Peña), the douche-like Grady ‘Coon-ass’ Travis (The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal), the religious Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeouf), and the tank leader Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Brad Pitt). The film’s heart and metaphoric character is the tank itself, which is named Fury (hence the title). It is April 1945 and Hitler has embarked on his ‘total war’ strategy, which consists of drafting every man, woman, and child to take up arms against their invaders. The tank crew just recently lost one of their men, which had been with them from the deserts of Africa to the forests of Germany. A young man who had been a desk clerk, and had never held a gun before, replaces the lost crewmember. The young man is called Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) and through his eyes we learn the true savagery of war.

The film perfectly captures the suddenness and the awkwardness of war. In the middle third of the film Wardaddy and Ellison have lunch with a tormented woman and her niece minutes after they finished taking a town. It’s a scene that allows us to see that there are brief necessities of showing humanity through so much darkness. The film emphasizes the muddy terrains of the destroyed Germany, and although the film is gory, it never at once seems exaggerated or cool. In fact you are glued to the screen and watch blood and flesh spurting and being punctured out of the respect and education of this omnipresent feature of humanity. As the film progresses so does Ellison and, subtly, so do we. The audience (no matter how many Call of Duty fans there are) goes from the terror of a single bullet, to the desperation of having to pull a trigger.

Ayer is able to not only convey an incredibly important message, he is also able to immerse us into his film, so that we flinch at every whizzing bullet and almost smell the inside of the tank: the sweat, the blood, and the gunpowder. Ayer expertly works with his cast in such a way that he is able to juice each and every actor of their best abilities. The two celebrity giants that mesmerize us in this film are Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman. The way that they portray their characters makes us feel extremely close to them, even though we actually know nothing about them, which is really what relationships should feel like in the army. Simple anecdotes are all that is required in order to remind us that our characters were civilized citizens once. But it also shows us that in war none of your past matters. Lerman’s character’s progression and Pitt’s charismatic and rough leader make us both sympathize and listen to them; they both posses the essential traits of any war movie.

Bernthal and Peña are great in their roles, but the real surprise and delight here was Shia LaBoeuf whose career had been shaking and nearing total debacle, but thankfully Fury has bought him a couple more productions, and people may temporarily view him as a serious actor. LaBoeuf and Pitt’s characters both have a close and almost brotherly relationship that, nevertheless, is never indicated directly, or even indirectly, on the screen. I know, that seems contradicting, but there is no symbolism that Ayer or the actors use; there is no direct and touching dialogue between them… you just know. It is those feelings that properly define the perfect chemistry in a cast and the true mastery of a director’s hand. 

The film might feel long to some people, but every scene and line is needed in order to fully carve out each character and their journey. If the movie was shortened the audience would be left wanting more and the true impact of the message might not have fully gone through.

It is essential not only to see this artful masterpiece, but to also digest the harrowing message, which Pitt himself addresses in a memorable quote: “Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.”





Anti-War Message



What is the best anti-War film? Let me know in the comments section.

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