World War Two has been covered throughout the years on both film and television. Various campaigns and battles have been displayed on screen for the education and entertainment of audiences. Could writer and director David Ayer give the viewer a different slant on such a well documented period of history?
His latest film, Fury, follows an American tank crew during the final months of the conflict. Brad Pitt plays the commander, Don 'Wardaddy' Collier, a man for whom fighting has become the only way of life. When we first meet him he violently beats a German soldier to death then releases the man's horse, free of its restraints. He is a character of contrast; both calm and philosophical but also brutal and almost soulless. His men need him to be both as they face a dangerous and relentless enemy.
After having lost one of their own, the team are sent raw recruit Norman Ellison (played by Percy Jackson actor Logan Lerman) who has never seen any action. It is Ellison's journey from newbie to battle hardened soldier that the film focuses on; how does war affect a man? The film seems to ask the audience if it is inevitable that Norman will follow the example of his fellow crew as war consumes him.
The rest of the cast are fair support, although Jon Bernthal's character is completely unlikable. Ayer has obviously written the part to demonstrate how war can warp a man and in that regard Bernthal plays it perfectly, but it is hard to care what happens to him as the film continues.
Ayer does not shy away from the graphic nature of conflict. Filth, blood and death are smeared all over the screen as wave after wave of explosions hit the audience right between the eyes. The quiet, reflective moments only serve to lull the viewer into a false sense of security before the action begins again.
There have been some negative comments that [Fury](movie:866294) does not fully reveal the harsh conditions that men endured both in the War and as part of a tank crew. However, the film is brutal and pulls no punches in the way it portrays the fighting and hatred on both sides. There are some great performances from Lerman and Pitt, who both convey their roles superbly, allowing the audience to really connect with their characters.
The viewer is left under no illusion; war is hell. Fury needs to be seen as an example of great set pieces, brilliant acting and as a testament to the men who fought.