War is inherently cinematic. The stark comparison between good and bad, the grey areas of moral or amoral behavior, the stripping away of the thin veneer of civilization and civilized behavior, and the historical replay — or reinvention — of heinous situations. It’s no wonder that for any given war there are dozens if not hundreds of films. No war has been covered more thoroughly than World War II, however, with its deep and profound impact on all peoples and all corners of the globe.
The grand sweep of the war has been covered effectively before, but it’s the ability to zero in on an individual, on one person’s journey through the horrors of war that makes a film most effective. It was our ability to experience the Normandy Invasion and subsequent tour of the battlefield through the eyes of Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) in the superb, intense Saving Private Ryan that made that film so powerful.
Similarly, Fury is about the experiences of raw recruit Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), who is dumped into Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt)’s platoon as assistant driver for the big tank. But Ellison’s been trained to be a typist back at HQ and he’s not combat ready. Worse, he is a threat to the safety of the other men in the tank nicknamed “Fury”: if he can’t become as callous and aggressive towards the Germans as the rest of the crew, they could all end up dead.