Fury: Marching to the Beat of Any Drum

Fury

Having seen the film Fury at the cinema as an early screener, the movie was enjoyable but not overly so. After looking at other reviewers waxing lyrical about the Pitt and co in the tank film, it appears that some people are so desperate for a war film that they want to march to the beat of any drum, whether it fits or not. This sort of “Charge of the Light Brigade,” on a smaller scale than the actual suicidal campaign, is good as far as combat movies go, Fury has something for everyone.

Nazis make terrific baddies, especially the SS and in 2014 all the really good villains have been European. Although to be fair, in most films this year, Russia and Chechnya have been the countries of choice replacing the usual Hollywood choice of Brit bad guys. Luckily, though, the English do brilliant German, Russian, etc accents and if they do not, well the cut glass “My pa drives a Jaguar, he drives it rather fast,” mode of elocution can be used to depict a myriad of nationalities on screen. In Fury the nazi soldiers fit the bill with flying colors regardless of accent.

Obviously at this point in time, we need war films that depict our troops in a positive light. Although the film tries hard to show just what the hazards of warfare are and the price that these distressed soldiers pay in doing their duty, it just does not fit that time period. Certainly troops go through hell in war, that is a given. Death of friends and comrades is upsetting and life changing. The fact that David Ayers and Brad Pitt have attempted to show gratitude to the country’s military with Fury is commendable. What does not fit, however, is that the director is marching to the beat of any drum and not that of World War II tune.

As stated in this reviewer’s tally of Fury, the scenes of battle looked and sounded spot on, or as spot on as anyone who has never been in a tank battle can declare it to be. What did not fit was the interaction between the soldiers. The characters felt displaced and from a time much more recent than the late 1940s. The director has stated that he does not believe that WWII was the “clean” war that everyone makes it out to be. He may be correct to a degree, but times were different then. The world was not as small as it is now or even as it was during the Vietnam War.

Before the first war the U.S.A. lost, families of soldiers did not learn about deaths of their loved ones until a telegram came in the mail. There was no daily news update from the field of battle showing on the 6 o’clock news with a followup at 11. During the second war to end all wars, letter was still the normal way of long distance communication and wars were fought the old fashioned way, one bloody inch gained at a time. Just as it is depicted in Fury.

General Billy Mitchell had forfeited his career to prove that future wars would be won and lost by superior air power, although the Air Force would not be a separate service until after the war. The leadership in the big war was at least good enough that it took until Vietnam for fragging to become popular with disenchanted regular troops who feared that their inexperienced leaders were going to get them killed. In Fury, the troops are marching to the beat of a drum from a different decade, in other words any drum that has a military tattoo. The wrong decade is being portrayed here and it sticks out. Certainly in terms of technical accuracy and the sounds of war, it is a superior film, but in the terms of Pitt and co, it lacks much in its desire to show what distressed troops go through by assigning a 1960s mentality to a 1940s setting.

By Michael Smith

Sources:

Guardian Liberty Voice

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