starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, and Jason Isaacs
written and directed by David Ayer
I liked this film. It was intense, violent, dirty, and the most realistic-looking depiction of WWII tank warfare I’ve ever seen. Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman M4 Firefly tank nicknamed “Fury” during the last weeks of World War Two. (The “Firefly” Sherman was modified from the standard Sherman M4A tank by the replacement of the original, small 75 mm cannon with a heavier 17-pound gun in its turret. That was to enable it to compete with the heavy German Tiger tank with its devastating 88 mm cannon. American tanks were outgunned by German tanks during the war and the reason has to do with strategy. The Germans designed their heavy tanks to be mobile artillery while the Americans designed their tanks to be infantry support. Modern American Abrams and German Leopard tanks carry 120mm cannons, while the Russian T-90 carries a 125 mm.) Wardaddy’s tank crew has been together since North Africa and they are a hardened unit. They’re animals. In the final weeks of the war their forward gunner is killed and replaced by a rookie corporal, Norman (Logan Lerman), straight out of boot camp and only eight weeks in the service. Naturally he is instantly dissed by his crewmates. Trained as an Army clerk, his unfamiliarity with tank warfare makes him a liability for the rest of the crew. So he has to be brutally baptized into the art of war. Killing. As a final battle strategy Nazi Germany mobilized every man, woman and child, consequently rather than losing heart for the struggle and giving up the fighting became more desperate as the Allies pushed deeper into the Fatherland. Norman has to be taught to kill children in uniform. Even a little girl with a butter knife has to be considered a target. Shooting people is “harvesting meat.” Even dead bodies have to routinely be strafed just to make sure they really are dead. Eventually he gets the hang of it.
Wait to you see what a man can do to another man.
The climax comes when Wardaddy is sent as part of a column of Shermans to guard a country crossroad from advancing SS infantry that threaten the American supply train. The other tanks in his column are destroyed by a Tiger leaving Wardaddy and his crew alone to face off against a couple hundred infantry. To make it worse Fury hits a mine and is immobilized right at the crossing. The guns still work but the tank can’t move. They decide to take cover inside and battle it out with the swarming Nazis. Disguising themselves as an out-of-commission, destroyed tank they wait until the unsuspecting infantry are in close range and then the let rip with all the armament they have. By now night has fallen so the final part of the movie is a spectacular night-time firefight. Mangled bodies everywhere.