Tonight my friend and I went to the Sneak Preview in a nearby town. Every Tuesday at nine they show a film that is not out yet. Today it was – you may have guessed it by the title – Fury.
Okay, so to give you a short synopsis without spoiling too much: It’s a war film.
No, okay I’ll elaborate a bit: The film is set in grey and muddy Germany in 1945 (the war officially ended May 8, 1945). The plot follows a group of American soldiers: Don aka “Wardaddy”, their leader who speaks German and has been to Africa and France and such – he’s the guy played by Brad Pitt so he’s obviously super awesome. What’s next? Oh yes, the other characters: Then we have Boyd aka “Bible” who is known for quoting the bible a lot and talking about being saved by God and all, Grady aka “Coon Ass” – don’t ask me why, a pretty disgusting yet likable roughian with bad table manners, Trini aka “Gordo”, a Mexican guy who…umm…he speaks spanish sometimes. The film starts with the four of them rolling back into a camp after surviving some big massacre that occurred before the film. Oh – their tank’s name is Fury by the way. The scenery is quite marvelous: Mud, fences, dead and wounded extras, prisoners and miserable faces. This is where they meet the fifth member: Norman, later given the name “the machine”, though the reason for it seems a little insensitive. He is a trained desk-worker. He can type sixty words a minute, but he was sent to Germany to fight instead. The point is: He’s the new guy who’s never held a gun before.
The team is pretty pissed about getting the young soldier to take care of, which is made obvious through various jokes and what not.
When they leave camp, they’re attacked now and again and have to fight their way out. Eventually Norman learns to kill. And he learns to hate.
That’s all I can say for now about the plot without giving too much away. But whoever has seen the trailer knows what it all leads up to.
When the film started, my friend and I were not so amused. We expected American patriotism and idealism that define a typical American-made war film. And a lot of swearing.
So, while they did swear a lot and “Bible” kept talking about doing God’s will by killing the Nazis, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be. It did seem to show war as the terrible thing it is and it shows what people are capable of in such extreme situations.
What I found very interesting was the development of Logan Lerman’s character, Norman, who started out as a young intellectual (he doesn’t turn dumb, but just to give you the idea) who refuses to kill anybody at first and gradually, though maybe not gradually enough, has less scruple killing soldiers and shooting corpses.
It reminded me a little bit of “All quiet on the Western Front”, a film about World War One as seen by a young German soldier and his companions. It was released in 1930 after a book by the same name (German: Im Westen nichts Neues) by Erich Maria Remarque. Although from 1930, it’s hard to miss how terrible they’ve made it look with soldiers being blown up or bleeding out in a trench. And they both end with death.
Now, I’ve said what I thought was good: They showed what it does to people, what people are capable of, how shitty war is, how it’s not all black and white (though they could have made that a little more obvious). The acting was also very, very good by every one of them.
What’s less brilliant: Well, it’s a film about war. I don’t like films about war. I mean, we get it: War is really, really bad. The second World War was super mega bad. We know. Everybody knows this and it will not make those fueling the wars of today change their minds. Sometimes I feel like those wars were fought so people could make movies about them.
Surely Germany is not the only country that talks about the war in overkill. We’ve talked it through in school, we’ve written exams on it, we’ve seen documentaries on it – in school or late at night when we couldn’t sleep (it’s either that or live stripping) – we’ve read books about it and here in Germany it really is so close. My parents, the Brits, are friends with a woman whose grandfather died in the firestorm of Darmstadt (a test run for Dresden, apparently) and there is someone who remembers war prisoners walking down our street to work on some farm somewhere. Heck, maybe it was this house, which used to be a farm and it’s the only farm around here.
It’s real and it’s close and we all know how terrible it was. So why do people have to continuously make films about it?
I warned you I might drift away from the topic.
So, in conclusion, as war films go it wasn’t so bad, the acting was good, the setting was quite realistic. If you want to see a film with guns and mud and a tank called Fury – and Brad Pitt – that is completely set in the battlefield and leaves you in a bit of a depressed state, go ahead. Personally, I would not have voluntarily chosen to see that film despite my love for Logan Lerman (call me) and his eyes like the water on those holiday pictures of tropical islands.
And I know they always say Roger when they understand something. But who is Roger?