Pitt’s mud and blood bath

Gory wartime drama fo­cuses on US Army tank crew

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crit­i­cal junc­ture in David Ayer’s wartime thriller, Brad Pitt’s griz­zled tank com­man­der turns to an in­ex­pe­ri­enced new re­cruit and sounds the death knell on moral­ity and diplo­macy in a time of con­flict.

“Ideals are peace­ful, his­tory’s vi­o­lent,” he growls with an icy glare.

Those words res­onate through­out Fury, a bru­tal, mud-spat­tered tour of duty dur­ing the fi­nal weeks of the Sec­ond World War, as seen through the gun sights of an M4 Sher­man tank crew on a col­li­sion course with Hitler’s troops.

The film opens with Pitt’s in­spi­ra­tional leader stab­bing an un­sus­pect­ing Ger­man of­fi­cer in the eye and Ayer re­peat­edly sates a thirst for close-up gore with ex­pertly chore­ographed bat­tle se­quences and hand-to-hand com­bat be­tween ground troops.

The blood­bath tem­po­rar­ily abates for broth­erly ban­ter inside the claus­tro­pho­bic tank, but the air is al­ways chok­ingly thick with im­pend­ing doom.

15 Brad Pitt, Lo­gan Ler­man, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Jon Bern­thal, Jim Par­rack, Brad Wil­liam Henke, Kevin Vance, Xavier Sa­muel, Ja­son Isaacs, Anamaria Mar­inca, Ali­cia von Rit­tberg

A

T AEight weeks after he en­rolls in the US Army as a clerk typ­ist, Nor­man El­li­son (Lo­gan Ler­man) is as­signed the po­si­tion of as­sis­tant driver in a tank chris­tened Fury un­der the com­mand of Sergeant Don ‘War­daddy’ Col­lier (Brad Pitt). This bat­tle-weary veteran be­gan the war in Africa and moved to Europe, killing nu­mer­ous Ger­mans along the way in the name of free­dom. Aided by the rest of his crew, Boyd Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini Gar­cia (Michael Pena) and Grady Travis (Jon Bern­thal), Col­lier gives Nor­man an ini­ti­a­tion he will never for­get on a se­ries of mis­sions led by Cap­tain Wag­goner (Ja­son Isaacs) and Lieu­tenant Parker (Xavier Sa­muel).

Three other tanks com­manded by Sergeant Binkowski (Jim Par­rack), Sergeant Davis (Brad Wil­liam Henke) and Sergeant Peter­son (Kevin Vance) flank Fury as US sol­diers push on to­wards Berlin.

“It will end soon,” Col­lier as­sures Nor­man, “but be­fore it does, a lot more peo­ple gotta die.”

Fury paints a fa­mil­iar pic­ture of the hell of war, di­rected with testos­terone-fu­elled swag­ger by Ayer, who pre­vi­ously helmed the bom­bas­tic po­lice thrillers End Of Day and Sab­o­tage.

His script is stud­ded with pol­ished di­a­logue that doesn’t quite ring true, as when Col­lier be­rates thug­gish Grady, “You’re an an­i­mal. All you un­der­stand is fist and boot”.

Or when Col­lier en­cour­ages Nor­man to sow his seeds with a pretty young Ger­man ( Ali­cia von Rit­tberg) by purring: “She’s a good clean girl. If you don’t take her into that bed­room, I will.”

Pitt leads the cast with a strong per­for­mance as a bat­tle-weary com­man­der, who holds back a tide of an­guish and un­cer­tainty un­til he is alone and can al­low the sobs to shake his scarred body.

Ler­man is equally com­pelling as a naive whelp, who de­vel­ops a taste for killing Nazis.

Ayer obliges him with an astro­nom­i­cal body count and for­eign fields slathered as far as the eye can see in mud, freshly spilt blood and the bod­ies of the fallen.

Louise Dear­man loves mu­si­cal the­atre but is ready to push her­self in new di­rec­tions Cer­tifi­cate Stars

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