The iconic 2014 film “Fury” tells the story about the final allied push into Germany in April 1945. With the slogan “War Never Ends Quietly” it is arguably one of the best mainstream films I have had the privilege of watching in recent years, up there with Hacksaw Ridge and Whiplash. Written and directed by David Ayer, it was made taking into account the invaluable first-hand input of a number of Second World War veterans. Having a number of veterans in his family Ayer used his own experience when moulding the film as well as drawing from a number of autobiographies such as Belton Cooper’s “Death Traps”. With a successful time at the box office, grossing $211 million, it did received a great response from the critics even going on to be nominated in the Critics’ Choice Awards.
The plot takes place following D-Day of June 1944 and shadows an M4 Sherman Tank crew as it clashes with the most hardened Nazi resistance. Brad Pitt plays Don Collier, sergeant and chief of the tank, and is accompanied by a stellar cast including the likes of Shia LaBeouf and Michael Peña who are also in the crew as Boyd Swan and Trini Garcia. Having just participated in the allied North African Campaign, they are thrust into the European stage of the conflict. One of the crew, named Red, is killed in action and is replaced by a recruit, Norman. Norman is initially hesitant during the intense and frequent skirmishes they crew are faced with, and Don is particularly concerned and even angered by his indecisiveness and inaction. The M4 crew is soon given orders to capture a strategically important crossroads to ensure supplies are able to pass through to the main allied stronghold in the area. With news of an approaching Waffen-SS battalion, the band make a pivotal decision and stay back to ambush the Germans to devastating effect.
The film does very well to intertwine the War’s destruction and the civilian suffering which stemmed from that. This is contrary to most Hollywood war films which often overlook the plight of ordinary civilians: an elderly woman cutting meat off a dead horse, or the indiscriminate Luftwaffe bombing campaign. David Ayer deserves most credit for making this film as good as it is. The extreme swings between the fierce battle scenes and the peaceful respites make the film highly striking and unpredictable. On the whole, “Fury” is a skilful and fascinating study of those faced with some of the most dangerous combat in the Second World War.