David Ayer‘s gripping tank drama FURY is set in Germany in April 1945 during Hitler’s Total War and follows the battle hardened crew of a Sherman tank as the Allies make their final push to defeat the Nazis.
The movie starts with a man on a white fairy-tale horse who emerges from a bank of grey fog in a dark and muddy scenario; and we know this is just the calm before the storm.
When he is near to us we see his uniform: he is a German SS Officer. Suddenly, from behind a tank, a man knocks the SS from the horse and sinks a knife into his eye socket. Now we are allowed to see the attacker’s face: it’s Brad Pitt. And, if this is the introduction to the good – guy main character, we understand from the start that this will not the classic war (or anti-war) movie as we are used to watch.
Brad Pitt is the M4 Sherman Tank commander Sgt Don “Wardaddy” Collier. But he is no longer the Inglorious Basterds soldier; here he is like a father for his three tank-mates: Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) and Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena). But his character is also ambiguous: as a father he is ready to die to save his kids and he is so proud to have kept them alive after four years of war; but, in the end, his mortal hatred for the Nazis is stronger than his care for them.
Collier is also a war teacher for the new boy in the tank: Norman Ellison (a great Logan Lerman). He forces Norman to shoot a captured SS officer in the back pressing the trigger in his hands, under his finger and twisting his head so he is forced to see the scene. This is the turn key for Lerman character. Norman first job was to clean up the blood from the tank; a tank full of Nazi memorabilia (hats, medals, …). “I’m trained to type 60 words a minute, not trained to machine gun dead bodies” are Ellison first words; but we know at the end he’ll be exactly that, a war machine.
Fury is not an action movie and all the scenario is set up to remember it to the audience: we are in a frozen landscape, the mud under the tank is solid, sun never appears, all is brown and cold and the only real battle scenario is bloody cruel and it works; as it works the main cast: they are exactly what the movie needs to be real as it needs to be.
During the press conference, the cast talked about their fully preparation: weeks of Boot-Camps to be physically prepared but also to be tired as the soldiers after four years fighting; the smell inside the tank after few days, their distance from every kind of media (cellphones, social networks, laptops,…); but also Ayer’s difficulties with the tiny space as director.
But the press conference was also really touching when a German journalist praised the director for the emotional scene inside the city conquered by the Allies. She told about her mum and grandma’s stories about how difficult that period was for the German people, especially for the women and there is a key scene in the movie (we are not going to spoil it to you here) that, as she said, is really respectful and dignified towards the German population.
This is the essence of Fury; a real movie that, as Ayer said, “is not a videogame where you can press a button to switch it off or to resuscitate people who have died”.
“I started killing Germans in Africa, then I killed Germans in France and now I’m killing Germans in Germany. It will end, soon. But before it does, a lot more people have to die”.
Release dates: USA 19 October 2014
UK 22 October 2014
Italy 13 November 2014