A white-saddled horse escorts a German officer through a corpse-littered battlefield. Silhouettes of burning tanks trace along the morning light. David Ayer’s opening scene of Fury invites us to April 1945.
The Allied Forces advance further into Germany as the final months of World War II come upon them. Part of that effort includes the film’s focus: the crew of a M4A3E8 Sherman tank, which was given the name “Fury.”
While it displays the brutal realities of World War II, most of the movie details the bonding of the crew.
“One thing that made it stand above other war movies is the fact that it showed how the soldiers act during war,” junior business management major Troy Robinson said. “War is not a fun place to be in, and they really showed how it effects the soldiers.”
Fury’s commander, Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) leads his diverse group: Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LeBeouf), Grady “Coon Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) and Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena) through swaths of German ground and SS troops.
History major Joshua Hosack said he marveled at the accuracy of one scene in which the Fury crew is joined by two Stuart tanks from another American platoon in a fight against a much stronger German Tiger tank.
These Tiger tanks were the pennacle beings of Axis firepower, showing off their dominance first in North Africa — occasionally Wardaddy refers to his time fighting Axis troops in Africa.
Movie-goers find themselves perplexed at this dynamic character. He is certainly cold; he is a veteran of the war, despiser of all things Nazi and a ruthless killer. Yet somehow, the film allows the Pitt character to prove himself a noble leader. His one source of pride is keeping his crew alive despite insurmountable odds.
“World War II was an emotional time and place,” Senior Christian Studies major Rusty Pregeant said. “The attitudes that the actors portrayed and the setting showed that.”
It isn’t Collier’s point of view that tells the story. The film is a right of passage for young clerk, Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman). He receives orders to join the Fury crew as assistance driver. Ellison soon finds out why, as Collier hands him a rag and a bucket of hot water. The seat where the previous assistant sat is covered in blood and body parts.
Ayer leaves us wondering whether or not this tank will be the crew’s guard or grave.
“I am trained to type 60 words a minute, not trained to machine gun dead bodies,” Ellison complains on his first outing.
“At first I didn’t like Norman because he got one tank blown up because he was trigger-shy,” Robinson said, “But as the movie progressed, he grew into a war hero.”
The film has its absurd moments. It is more gruesome than Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards, and at times the film depicts the American soldiers as bloodthirsty rapists who lose all sense of humanity.
War is dehumanizing, but it is the Fury crew that gives us hope in the ideal of American supremacy: No Führer, no German battalion, no odds. No one can stand in the way of an American soldier who puts his brothers before himself.
Ellison, who once wouldn’t kill, leads through the bodies of opposing Nazis by the time it’s all said and done.
Old Glory flies.