It is April 1945. The place is Germany. The Third Reich is on the verge of collapse but it is fighting savagely and grimly until the end. “Fury” is the word painted by hand on the gun of a Sherman tank which is commanded by Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) who with three other crew members are old hands of the war having fought through North Africa and Italy. The fifth member of the tank crew is a greenhorn, a young man wet behind the ears whose prior war time duties have primarily been behind a desk involving typing skills. Norman (Logan Lerman) is an innocent abroad. The daily horrors of armed conflict and the physical engagement with the enemy are foreign to him. He sees an enemy soldier not as some embodiment of evil but as a human being. He has concerns as to how prisoners are treated. Within the tank in the intimate proximity of his loud and foul-mouthed new comrades his fear is palpable. His comrades treat him as an outsider, the new boy on the block.
Definitely not one of them. Wardaddy to an extent takes him under his wing but very much on his terms with no concessions being made to Norman’s moral concerns. It is this relationship of master and pupil, father and son, experience and innocence which is the tale that “Fury” tells.
If the contemporary film reels of the Second World War were primarily in black and white, Fury is primarily in every imaginable shade of khaki and tan muddled up with sludge green camouflage accompanied by blistering blasts of screaming yellow, orange gunfire, great bursts of flying dark brown earth and grey, smouldering shattered buildings. Although the film seems to have been constructed as a vehicle for Brad Pitt to display his manifold talents as Wardaddy it is the acting of Logan Lerman as Norman which is memorable. He has a journey to make from innocence to experience in a very short time and he makes it convincingly without losing completely his sense of decency. The other crew members give fine performances as battle scarred red necked bravura men but they are in reality only background to the relationship which is being developed between Wardaddy and Norman.
War is ugly and noisy. Fury too is ugly and noisy. However Fury does depict the sort of human relationships that may develop within that noise and ugliness. That is its greatest strength.