By Tim Olsen
Going into “Fury,” I expected a good war film: Brad Pitt starring, David Ayer (“End of Watch”) writing and directing, and the supporting cast filled by Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal and Michael Peña, all who have proved solid in the past. The trailer was shot well, showcasing some excellent production design, and the angle of World War II tank operators was one I hadn’t seen before. It seemed like nothing could go wrong.
I was right, for the most part. The film is set during the last months of World War II, where we follow five Allied tank operators as they campaign through Nazi Germany.
After losing their assistant driver, the crew receives a rookie private (Logan Lerman), who must find his place within the group. The cast was great, the film looked good, the premise was fresh and the action was spectacular. On the surface level, this is a good film, one that I would expect to enjoy.
I didn’t anticipate an ugly, depraved and downright sexist moral center underneath that deceptively pleasing surface.
Throughout the film we’re constantly shown how awful the characters are, never hesitating to kill Germans, whether those Germans are surrendering or not. Lerman’s character can’t stomach this brutality and tries to challenge the others to be better; the film portrays this as a good thing.
Then Lerman’s character has his first kill.
He becomes quite the barbarian after that, acting just as grotesquely as the others, albeit in a softer way. It’s a complete contradiction to what the film appeared to be saying – as if the writer changed his mind in the middle of the writing process.
The film’s treatment of women, though, is much worse. One sequence in particular displays some crass gender politics. Everything about this sequence, whether it’s the events portrayed or the shot placement, communicates that women are not as important as men, and only have worth when they’re dead or about to be used for sex. What’s even more revolting is that the filmmakers seem to try and cover this up by saying, “Hey, it could be worse!”
With a confused outlook on war and a rampant display of sexism, I have trouble recommending “Fury.”
I do have to give them credit for the title, though; it perfectly describes what I felt after seeing this film.