Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars
“Do what you’re told and don’t get close to anyone.”
With these words Staff Sergeant Don Collier (Pitt) welcomes Private First Class Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) to his tank crew. Doing battle in Germany, Collier has just lost his assistant gunner and young Norman, a clerk typist by training, has been assigned to replace him. His first job? Get in the tank and clean up what’s left of the man he’s replacing. They’re not joking when they say “war is hell.”
Part “Das Boat” with a bit of “Platoon” tossed in for good measure, “Fury” follows the crew of the title tank as it slowly rumbles across the German countryside. Quarters are close and, despite Collier’s instructions, it’s almost impossible for the men to not get close. “Gordo” Garcia (Pena) drives the tank while “Bible” Swan (a subdued and outstanding LaBeouf) takes aim. “Coon-Ass” Travis loads and fires while “Wardaddy” Collier oversees everything. Despite their obvious differences, this mechanized family is closer than most.
Ayer, the writer/director of films like “End of Watch” and “Sabotage,” has crafted a look at the brotherhood between men without too much sentimentality. The feelings are there, under the surface. No dramatic breakdowns or tearful remembrances are necessary to convey the bond between Fury’s crew. Pitt, whose SSG Collier could be a close relation to “Inglorious Basterd’s” Lieutenant Aldo Raine, has aged into a fine character actor and he does an excellent job here. Lerman, title star of the “Percy Jackson” film series, literally grows before our eyes, from wide-eyed innocent to battle hardened soldier. The war is seen, and presented through both Lerman and Pitt’s eyes and the audience is asked to make up their own mind. “Ideals are peaceful,” Collier explains. “History is violent.” Sometimes you can’t have one without the other.