Fury: A Realistic but Stupid, Useless Film

Hollywood does not know how to make a film about war. This has been proven on so many different occasions, often averred on this blog, across the spectrum of time and experience, that I almost wonder why I’m bothering to write another essay on the subject. There are other projects I could be working on – short fiction, advocacy for responsible foreign policy, poetry, running. Developing personal relationships. Finding a useful pursuit beyond criticizing gross failures of imagination, when – to be perfectly frank – nobody’s listening, anyway.

Fury movie

When I watched the preview of Fury I immediately tweeted about it – words to the effect of “Saving Private Ryan with Tanks.” I have not watched the movie, as Michael Cieply did before reviewing it for The New York Times, but I’ve read his review, and combined with the two-plus minutes of preview I endured (several times), I feel confident delivering my reaction to the movie in full. Here’s me lifting my glass to the previewers, and Cieply, who seemed to feel pleased that the film was made, because I will not waste my money on it, it’s certain to be trash. Worse than that, the type of trash that deceives its watchers into thinking they’ve done something useful, or honored their grandparents, or I don’t know what.

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Here are some excerpts from the beginning of his review: “Raw.” “The Good War this is not.” “Hero.” “Relentlessly authentic.” “Poised to deliver what popular culture has rarely seen.” “Executed prisoners and killed children.” Later on in the review, after exposition on the significance of a movie dedicated to the tankers, and the crews of Sherman tanks, “Much of what [Pitt’s] Wardaddy does may shocked viewers who have watched American soldiers behave brutally in Vietnam War films at least since ‘Apocalypse Now,’ but have rarely seen ugliness in the heroes of World War II.” “In his harsh initiation of a new gunner, Mr. Pitt’s Character crosses lines, both legal and moral. Not even Lee Marvin’s Sergeant Possum in Samuel Fuller’s ‘The Big Red One,’ another knife killer, went quite so far.”

“This time around, the subject will be those damaged tanker-heroes.”

Give me a break.

Without watching the movie, based on the preview, and The New York Times review, I’m going to head out on a limb and claim that if specific catalogue of carnage using different weapons than we’re used to reveals some epiphany about the horror of war, I’ll eat a leather shoe.

I’ll do it. So help me god, I’ll boil one of my leather shoes, and eat it.

According to the review, there’s a scene in the movie where someone from Wardaddy’s crew has to kill a “buddy.” A tank gunner vet quoted in the review claims that he didn’t see that type of behavior himself while serving 28 months overseas during WWII – one imagines that such events happened, even if they were exceptional. So what? There’s a great deal about how this movie isn’t Inglorious Basterds, although there’s another knife scene in it – presumably realistic, to show the grit of war, because according to the review (and the movie’s actors and makers), war is a series of physical actions more or less without negative consequence, unless you’re the person getting killed or stabbed.

A great deal of time is spent in the review on the writer/director, David Ayer, and his bona fides, as though that has anything to do with whether the movie is good, or accurate, or useful. Apparently Ayer has a man-cave in Los Angeles packed with war memorabilia. Apparently he himself served in the Navy during the 1980s, on a submarine crew. Apparently he reads lots of historical fiction and non-fiction accounts of World War II. Apparently any of that, combined with Brad Pitt, means he knows how to write and direct a “good” war movie worth watching.

It sounds like his movie sucks balls.

Here’s how Fury could maybe not be a movie that totally blows, and should never have been made (I’d be happy to eat that shoe if I’m proven wrong, because it will have been worth it to be wrong):

  • The violence does not lead anywhere, and is seen visibly eroding good people and changing them in ways they do not like, and does them no good
  • Combat is seen as a sequence of misfortunes, ideally misfortunes that befall the actor rather than the subject. Guns jam in comical ways. Soldiers shit themselves. People shake and weep. I’m guessing that Brad Pitt isn’t the sort of character (at least not if he’s being described as a hero) that he played in 12 Monkeys – batshit crazy, crying in the mayhem, barely able to function. No – I’m guessing he’s the guy who sticks knives into Nazi skulls, which everyone knows is cool.
  • At least one of the soldiers should do something despicable – not like killing their buddy because they have to, to save him/her (unless it’s a major plot point), but because they enjoy it. I’d recommend the rape of someone vulnerable, say, a French or Jewish refugee. This should point to that character’s basic cowardice as a human being, a point underlined by their altruistic (not necessarily poor) performance in combat. It should go without saying that this soldier would be American.

At some point – maybe Saving Private Ryan – people decided that realistic portrayals of combat were socially useful because they were honest and brutal, and I assume that was supposed to dissuade people from wanting to experience war. If this is an idea that’s floating around in Hollywood, please allow me to argue vigorously against it. Many people I knew in the military (the two other primary contributors to this blog, Mr. Carson and Mr. James being definite exceptions) loved those movies, called them “badass,” and watched them over and over again. The weak secondary characters were disliked, and the enemies were hated. No deeper meaning was extracted from the films. Again – if Hollywood feels that making a realistic movie about tanks, or submarines, or bombers, or fighter planes, or black units, or white units, or Navajo units, or anything fighting Nazis and the SS and the commies is going to make young people feel revulsion toward war, or horror at its deprivations – they’re delusional. Fury will merely be added to a long list of factually probable representations of violence that help beat the drums for another generation of people to glamorize the worst parts of state-sanctioned murder, and prepare them to serve in misbegotten causes.

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Which brings me to my final thought, and I’ve had this thought for a while: if the big Hollywood producers were interested in making a good war film about World War II, they could do a lot worse than reading 2666, meditating for a while, and then creating a film that takes Peckinpah’s superlative Cross of Iron and elevates it to the next level. Yes: I’m proposing that the best way to create a useful and accurate anti-war film would be to make the protagonists Germans – preferably German light infantry, the type that got chewed up on the Eastern Front with casualty rates somewhere above 1,000%, then was redeployed to the Western Front to fight the Americans and promptly bombed out of existence, for no good reason at all. The greatest mine for really good, true war stories, in my opinion, is the Wehrmacht – my guess is that nobody in Hollywood has the guts to put that movie together. After all, America’s about winning, and the Nazis were evil, and every German was a Nazi. And so we’ll continue singing ourselves to sleep at night with patriotic tunes on our lips, secure in our confidence that Brad Pitt and his buddies did what they had to because in the end, it was just a bad dream.

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Adrian Bonenberger

Adrian Bonenberger is an author, essayist, journalist and provocateur. He published his war memoirs, Afghan Post, through The Head and The Hand Press. He believes that logic based on indisputable facts is a good intellectual’s shield, and humor based on an emotional understanding of those facts is the good intellectual’s sword. He has had many adventures over the course of his time on earth, and enjoyed most of them. Past lives include Ernst Junger, “Sir” Philip Sidney, and that guy at the round table Arthur’s Knights were always telling to shut up

57 Comments
  1. Unlike Inglourious Basterds, Fury actually has a very impressive cast of Jewish actors playing soldiers (Jason Isaacs, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, and Cajun-Jewish mix Shia LaBeouf). They should have used this cast for that film.

  2. Well said, Adrian. Hollywood sucks. War films suck. Especially American war films. It’s much more interesting to watch foreign film or low-budget films to get anything thought-provoking. And foreign movies about war don’t usually have the American hang-up about mythologizing victory and heroics, probably because every other country in the world has experienced war on their soil and knows that it’s bullshit instead of adventure.

    1. This is an excellent point. While many of the people you and I knew enjoyed seeing themselves or how they imagined themselves on film, the truth is, when you talk to soldiers and officers one-on-one, the ones who’ve seen serious combat are usually very skeptical about the experience. America has one of the most heavily militarized societies in the world, and films and books portraying war as adventure versus calamity (as one often finds in South American, Middle Eastern and European literature) are a dime a dozen. This one isn’t any different, although it’s marketing itself as such.

  3. One of the best war books ever written, read it in my early youth: “The Forgotten Soldier,” by Guy Sajer. And, it covers the eastern front.
    Maybe it influenced me in not staying in the army.

    N

    1. N, looks like an interesting book. Wikipedia says “the account of a disastrous love affair with war and with the army that, of all modern armies, most loved war”, being written with the “admiration of a semi-outsider.” Supposedly Verhoeven was supposed to direct a film version in 2009, but it fell through. Would have been different. Possibly an answer to Adrian’s final paragraph and Paddy’s thoughts below. Though I have my reservations, especially when it comes to Verhoeven. Feels like more of the same to me. But, for better or worse, we get Lone Survivor and Fury, and we love it.

  4. Does Bonenberger just hate everything in the Army? Tanks, too? First of all Saving Private Ryan was an awesome movie, maybe we didn’t watch the same show or something? Secondly, Band of Brothers was amazing, and Inglorious Bastards. I can’t wait to watch Fury. I’ll be that guy. It’s going to be awesome, and we’re going to stomp all kinds of Nazi rear.

    1. I like that ahbonenberger mentioned that the European war was won on the eastern front, contrary to what Hollywood tells us. 87% of German casualties happened on the Eastern Front. Most of our contribution was in the Pacific.
      I also like that he wants to humanize the average German soldier. In the end, just like in America, the average soldier was the product of misinformation. I’m sure they thought they were under attack somehow and they were defending themselves.

      .

      1. To my point, here is a quote from Hermann Goenig, a Nazi Party leader:
        “Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

        “…the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

      1. Actually, yeah, it does. About time Hollywood “actors” started taking risks. I thought that punk sucked in Indian Jones, but maybe he’s got something. I’m gonna follow him on twitter now. Shia LeBeouf, your shit was weak for a long time, but with Fury, you just redeemed yourself. If only every Hollywood actor took their responsibility to patriots and heroes more seriously!

  5. Great article. I’m sooooo sick of Hollywood liberals obsessed with WWII. Why ? Because it’s the only war that they agreed with the agenda. It’s such disrespect for the men and women keeping them safe. Makes me feel disgusted with all of Hollywood. Tim Allen excluded.

  6. I was a jock college football player high school coach my dad was on the debate team in college never went to my games. I asked him why he said I am not impressed with jocks I was at Omaha Beach and the Bulge saw a lot of tough guy crying as I killed the Germans. Tough guys come in all sizes all religions all everything. Sometimes we hold the wrong guys on a platform bottom line Tough Don’t RuB Off. Until your balls are against the wall you don’t know who the real warrior is. Don’t care about movies interpretation of war unless you were there your opinion doesn’t matter.

  7. Wasn’t the Tiger VS Sherman kill ratio 14:1? Fury should have been over in the first tank battle scene that lasted a total of a few minutes.
    Would never think that 300 SS soldiers would not have the common sense to fire a couple RPG’s at the disabled sherman in the final battle scene .

    Of course, Brad Pitt survives three large rounds from a sniper, and miraculously lay in one piece after the two potato masher grenades are thrown inside the tank right next to him.

    Very unrealistic film. very disappointed with the effort.

    1. I couldn’t agree more with you about this film. Outside of getting uniforms and weapons right, it is a ridiculously far fetched war movie, almost like a John Wayne/Green Berets type of movie. With that said, I don’t agree with the blogger about all Hollywood war films. First off, I don’t think the directors purpose is to “dissuade” people from experiencing war. Saving Private Ryan was just showing how it really was, and veterans have said the Omaha beach seen was very realistic. It wasn’t all gung-ho like Fury, where Brad Pitt takes out most of an SS division with a broken down tank. Tom Hanks and company aren’t invading Germany and killing millions before dying. Those types of movies like Fury, are ridiculous. It’s basically just an action flick pretending to be a war movie. Platoon, Saving Private Ryan, The Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket…Those are the type of American war films that are worth remembering. It’s tough to not rag on America’s war films when you get stupid movies like Fury, or Pearl Harbor which was an abomination of a film.

  8. Actually there was about ZERO things that were realistic about Fury. A truly terrible film, it doesn’t reflect human struggle, combat, or anything with any shred of reality that isn’t oversaturated with Hollywood garbage.
    Nobody goes into an armor vs armor battle sticking their heads out of the top hatch. that’s just simply stupid and quite insulting to the audience.

    1. I agree…the end battle was stupid in the extreme…the Germans kept walking up like lemmings over a cliff….don’t try to tell me they were so tactically inept that they just kept walking into the gunsights of Wardaddy who was perched on top of a tank like a beacon waiting to be shot….but it took a German sniper to sneak up and drop him…I just sat there shaking my head at the sheer bloody stupidity of the scene. It amazes me that more critics haven’t taken this scene to task…. maybe as audiences we just don’t ask enough questions. You cant fix stupid!!!…and OMG this was stupid.

      1. I found that scene to be appalling as well. I may write a followup to this pre-review review, because when I saw the movie, it was just so awful, and the ending scene had a lot to do with that. For some reason, I found it particularly objectionable that the battalion of hardened SS vets – many of whom are carrying panzerfausts slung across their backs – don’t use the panzerfausts as part of their immediate reaction to finding an active tank. I get that the burning tank / .50 cal Wardaddy scene is supposed to be an homage to Audie Murphy’s MOH citation, but that happened as part of a much larger battle that was happening all around – and if memory serves, it was a company (not battalion) of wehrmacht panzergrenadiers, who themselves had been pushed around by previous attacks. Heroic improbable things happened in WWII. That final scene was absurd to the point of fantasy.
        Let’s look at it another way. How did that scene play out in real life? (1) the Americans said “screw this” and abandoned the vehicle – maybe initiated a far ambush on the SS to slow them down, make them think there was a stronger defensive position – definitely E&E’d back to higher. (2) for reasons not clearly established in the movie, they decide to stay with the tank. They set up an elaborate and complicated trap for the Germans, and get the drop on the SS battalion, destroying a truck and putting a savage hurting on the first two platoons of 40-50 soldiers, killing or wounding up to half of them and sending the rest of the battalion to cover. The initial group to make contact – this is a veteran battalion, at least as shown in the movie – quickly calls back “panzer, 12 o’clock, U.S., Sherman.” The battalion commander ensures everyone is in cover, pulls weaker armored assets back, and sends one full company forward (three platoons), panzerfausts at the ready, to flank the vehicle, lay down suppressive fire, hit it with the panzerfausts, then assault it and drop in grenades. They accomplish this with little difficulty, taking another 5 to 10 casualties in the process. The tank is destroyed, and everyone inside or underneath is killed. From start to finish, the battle takes maybe five minutes, if that.

        I suppose some people would say “it’s a movie, you’re supposed to suspend disbelief.” I’d say that a movie succeeds or fails based on whether it gives you enough to believe in. I saw the movie with a non-veteran friend who loves war films. I kept my concerns about the movie walking in to myself, as my friend was very eager to see it, and I hate being kill-joy. Here are some of my friend’s comments about the movie: “weird.” “That didn’t make any sense.” “That’s a little silly.” “Totally over the top.” “Is that really what it’s like?” Keep in mind – someone who was totally disposed to enjoy the movie, who was alienated almost from the get-go. And not for good reasons.

        Thanks for reading my pre-review review, sorry you had to sit through a boring and unrealistic depiction of… I don’t know, Brad Pitt’s enthusiasm for WWII hero-films.

        1. I agree and Fury is a ridiculous movie, then combine it with the fact that it’s to be taken seriously makes it even worse. I loved Inglorious Bastards, And yes it was far fetched, but it was Tarantino, it was humorous, it’s a movie you don’t take seriously at all it’s entertaining. I think of John Wayne movies when I think of Fury, why not just have Brad Pitts tank invade Berlin and kill everyone. It’s movies like these that make it hard to honestly approve of American war movies. Because for the majority of them, they are action movies with good guys (Americans) vs incompetent bad guys (Germans, Japs, Vietnamese etc).

    2. Yes they do! check out the tank battles in the Sinai between the Egyptians and the Israeli’s during the Yom Kippur war. Many Israeli tank commanders were killed standing in the open turrets. They did this for better situational awareness during the battle and paid the price. The film is a load of hokum as a lone tank without accompanying infantry is easy prey for opposing infantry.

  9. I love it when ego-bound idiots like you condemn a movie THEY HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN. First and last time on this waste of e-space.

    1. I think you didn’t understand the slant of the piece, if you conclude that the negativity comes out of ego. In any case, I watched the movie today, and it was worse than I thought it’d be, based on the previews. So, I’d say the initial review I gave it was generous. Thanks for stopping by!

    2. I’m glad you backed up your review by watching it. You were right the first time, but it’s too bad you had to waste the money to find out. This film was insulting.

  10. pretty much the worst war film I’ve seen in terms of being at all realistic in its depiction of battle, and the army during WWII. If anything like this even remotely occurred, we’d probably have several great books on the subject and everyone would know who Collier was in real life. Whereas Band of Brothers focused on Capt. Winters and several of the real engagements he served in, this movie seems just made up to showcase some great set pieces and the carnage of war. But oh the stupidity.The final battle scene is ridiculous. The SS, after the first couple shots, would have regrouped, planned and executed an attack to destroy the tank. the tank which they came across in the broad daylight which instantly becomes darkest night after the first shots are fired. A tank crew that somehow had hours to prepare for battle even though the loan sentry ran ahead of the approaching army from less than a mile away, an ss battalion marching with rocket launchers on their shoulders mind you, and yet when they need them they have to pull them out of boxes!!!! it goes on and on and on and oh the stupidity just get’s worse and worse until a sniper finally shoots the exposed tank captain because the rest of the german army can’t shoot straight from cover. This movie needs to be covered on ‘How did this get made’ with Paul Scheer, they’ll have a field day.
    As I sat through the stupidity of the final scene I slowly removed all forgiveness I had given to previous scenes, character developments, and plot devices because I was holding onto some hope that it would all come together in the end. However, I should have walked out as soon as the greenhorne paper pusher was assigned as a replacement to a tank crew after just ‘8 weeks’ in the army. WWII may have been a lot of things, but if the US Army had been this bad at planning and logistics we’d all be speaking german right now.
    I sincerely hope that as the real authorities on WWII slowly leave this earth it doesn’t mean we see worse and worse depictions of the sacrifice they made. It’s too bad too because this film had some real good grit, despair, props, and great actors going for it.

    1. This is the first movie I ever walked out on. I left after the ridiculous scene of Pitt making the typist kill an unarmed, subdued German. Geneva, Schmeneva. Who cares huh? This follows totally unbelievable lack of comraderie in arms inside the tank.. How did the partial face end up in this tank with no visible signs of damage. Totally dumb ass ,movie.

  11. I actually did see this film, and I want my money back. Although visually stunning (but aren’t they all these days?), it was in the end a poorly written, ill-conceived story that insulted my intelligence.
    The scene in the apartment with the 2 woman, intended to show the damaged psyches of these men, was awkwardly executed and fell flat as the day is long. I sat impatiently waiting for it to end.

    Brad Pitt should be embarrassed to have ever uttered the words “Ideas are peaceful, history is violent,” which is not profound or true. This is the sort of intellectually sluggish claptrap that should be avoided at all costs.

    The final scene evoked memories of a lone Xena the Warrior Princess fighting an entire army. It was fun watching Lucy Lawless but ridiculous in this setting..

    If you haven’t seen it yet, please do not.

    That said, I question the integrity of a reviewer bold enough to write such a definitive opinion without actually seeing the film. Familiarity with one’s subject is a prerequisite to form an intelligent opinion.

    1. If I didn’t admit that I hadn’t watched the movie it would be worth questioning my integrity. You may question my *wisdom* for choosing to extrapolate a review for an entire movie from a preview, which I examined carefully – it is worth considering that my review was essentially correct.

  12. You state three features that Fury should have titled, “Here’s how Fury could maybe not be a movie that totally blows”. Happy to inform you that all three of your necessary features *are* in the movie. They are visibly eroding good people. The scene in the house with the women is disturbing. On two occasions captured soldiers are even executed. On one occasion a soldier is forced to execute an unarmed German. Brad Pitt is on the verge of a total nervous breakdown and leaves the company of his men to prevent them from seeing him break down emotionally. He has been pushed to his emotional limit, but because he is in command, he walks away from his men to process what has just happened, but some German prisoners witness the breakdown. Regarding “despicable”, one of the tankers licks the food a girl is about to eat just to demean her, and as I said, several prisoners get executed by the tankers.
    So, you should give it a look. The portrayal is like what you say it should be.

    1. In the comment section above, it is revealed that I did watch the movie, the weekend after it came out, and found nothing in it to revise my estimation of the film upwards. The thing I found most objectionable about Fury, in fact, was the focus on those moments of horror within the framework of war without their leading anywhere more profound. I didn’t want Fury to suck – I strongly suspected that it would, given the preview – but went into it with an open mind. It’s worth mentioning that of the 13 Iraq/Afghan vets with whom I spoke, 2 found the movie entertaining and my review irritating, and 11 agreed with my review in the particular and overall. The movie was riddled with cliches that did not coalesce – it was a cliche about war, and the fact that it portrayed certain events accurately makes it no better, and perhaps even a bit worse.
      The Thin Red Line, Paths of Glory, and All’s Quiet on the Western Front are three movies I’ve seen that get war “right.” In addition to Cross of Iron, which I mention above.

      1. It was a joke of a film and I’m sure by watching the previews you could tell what kind of war movie it was going to be, which is why you went ahead and blogged without seeing it first. Just because a war movie shows Americans in a bad light (Like shooting prisoners, or raping women) doesn’t mean it’s a good war movie. Was it entertaining? I suppose if you’re looking for a movie you don’t have to use your brain to watch. But for me, I couldn’t get past the FACT that every single combat scene was ridiculously unrealistic and portrayed the Germans as incompetent shooting dummies.

  13. I came across this after watching the film. It’s interesting to canvass other people’s opinions.
    While I agree with overall thrust of your argument, that war films in general glamourise what should be a vicious, nihilistic experience, I thought it was interesting that Fury actually passed your three rules of what a war film should do.

    With that in mind, what else did you find objectionable about the film, now that you’ve seen it and pronounced it even worse than this preview suggests?

    1. First of all, thanks for taking the time to read. I guess the thing I found most objectionable about Fury was that it seemed to be a formulaic – “soulless,” as several of my combat vet buddies described it – accounting of what was, in fact, a horrible experience. I haven’t spoken with anyone who’s been through war who found the movie moving – some found it entertaining, according to their particular aesthetic predilections – but none (myself included) decided that there was an honest attempt made within to capture the horror of war. I know that probably sounds bizarre, given the bad things that happen in the film. But we’ve seen this before – a more or less avuncular protagonist who makes bad decisions but it’s not his/her fault, a la Saving Private Ryan, or Band of Brothers. I’d argue that casting Brad Pitt as Wardaddy meant that viewers would immediately and fundamentally see him as likable and understandable, regardless of what Wardaddy did, and that’s what happens in the movie. There are war films that are honest about their message, and really try to grapple with the human issues at stake – Thin Red Line, Paths of Glory, All’s Quiet on the Western Front spring immediately to mind.
      It’s important to me because the narratives we make about war drive how we approach the actual process of war, and act to shape our expectations around it. The worst lie you can tell a person is that they should do a thing because the thing will end up justifying whatever action that occurs, a lie Fury certainly perpetuates.

      So – I’d say the thing I found most objectionable, overall, was the forest that was Fury. That it contained oak trees, and pine trees, and maple trees, was all to be expected – while the presence of those trees in the preview did not necessarily mean that the film would suck, it did strongly suggest suckage, and, in my estimation, the forest wasn’t worth the $18.50.

      I’m legitimately interested to hear what you liked about Fury, what you thought it did well.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to explain your views. Would it be fair to paraphrase that you hated the film, but perhaps not for the reasons you expected?
        For me, while it had some obvious flaws (predictable, absurd ending) it did enough that was unusual to be worthwhile for reasons more than the sheer spectacle.

        As I think you noted in another comment, the tank crew are a fundamentally unlikable bunch. Even Collier and Norman. That lack of emotional connection gave the film a nihilistic edge that’s absent in the usual Hollywood treatment of war. The war may have been fought for good reason, but in the relentless focus on the tank, the wider contest is absent. There are no heroes here. Just brutal men committing and receiving violence for no good reason other than perpetuating a cycle of retribution.

        Which brings me on to the other thing that impressed me. There are very few war films that make any attempt to show how soldiers try and internalize the atrocities they see and commit. Men are, on the whole, not good at discussing these things so they keep it in and it affects their behaviour. Fury attempts to communicate. this in a clumsy way, throughout. There is the sense that the awful men in the tank were, perhaps, not always that awful. That their brutality toward each other is a way of trying to deflect the terrible questions they all want to ask but can’t give voice to.

        So, not a great film. But distinctive enough to be worth watching.

  14. Fury well I am furious wasting my time watching the movie it takes war movies back to the simplistic years of John Wayne’s efforts at least I.got to see a real tiger 1

  15. This movie majorly sucked for me because it was so un enjoyable to watch. The characters we’re all assholes and I couldn’t related to any of them. The fucking kid was a God damn pansy who couldn’t stand up for himself against his fucking commander who commanded him to kill an unarmed man in cold blood who was surrendering, and when he refused, he just got the shit slapped out of him and submitted like a little bitch, devolving his character into something hateful and morally wrong. I was expecting a film to shine some light on the HEROES who drove tanks during WWII, not the bottom of the barrel asswipes that I would rather see executed.

  16. The new trend, watch a movie just to find ways to trash it.
    Being all butthurt about wasting time watching a movie when all you blokes already expected it to suck and you just can’t wait to get home and wrote your rant here and there to satisfy your little ego, that’s not a problem, but going as far as making blogs to rant about something you CHOSE to pay and sat down on that crampy stinking chair to watch it, show,at least to me how much you want to assert your opinion that it’s suck.

    It’s just about 1-2 hours long in a theater,get over it! People waste more time than the lot of you did against their will in places they didn’t even want to be but got no other choices. You blokes shouldn’t even went and see it if you already wanted to believe and expected that it sucks.

    I like the movie, just a simple action war movie, mostly fictional to my view, lots of unrealistic spots in it. But I enjoy it anyway, for entertainment value.

    1. Thanks for reading, Jas. It’s not a “new trend” – the history of trashing bad art/literature/music through reviews goes back over 2300 years – and probably longer, as long as people have had opinions. Your threshold for whether or not a movie is “good” or not is that it’s entertaining, which is fair and valid. As a combat veteran and a voting citizen, I find certain combat narratives to be offensive and insulting; as someone who likes movies to be complex and careful, I found the movie to be reductive and predictable to the point where I could write a review without having watched the movie and be 100% correct about its flaws.
      As for my ego: guilty as charged. But it’s huge, man. It’s not small. Massive.

  17. Lmao I love when liberals get mad over war movies. You guys are all a bunch of pussies that would rather support modern-day feminism than our military.

    1. Okay guy, I gotta break this down: I’m a combat vet who’s sick of Hollywood and wants a true, badass war movie, not this weak shit they keep shoveling us. You call combat vets pussies and love Hollywood, home of liberals. I’m sorry, am I missing something? Think you got the wrong comment thread here, broseph

      1. AHBONENBERGER Just out of curiosity, why didn’t you like Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. I will admit that after the first scene, Ryan kinda goes downhill but it’s tough to top the beginning and I thought overall it was a great film that did justice to veterans of the beach landings. Have you ever seen The Deer Hunter? I mean I know Russian Roulette wasn’t happening in Vietnam but I thought that movie really developed the characters well and their mental states before during and after the war. Not a fan of Platoon either? The Willem Dafoe going Rambo in the jungle is my only exception to an otherwise realistic portrayal of grunts in the bush. How about Born on the 4th of July? I thought that was another excellent war film.

        1. Thanks for reading, Scott. I enjoyed Band of Brothers greatly when I saw it in the theaters, much more than I did Saving Private Ryan, though I enjoyed that, too. Platoon was an enjoyable film. Growing up I loved Braveheart, and The Patriot, and even Gladiator. Must have watched Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket dozens of times, between the two of them, in college. Never watched “Born on the 4th of July.”

          Now, I take exception to the way certain films and series portray war. It’s not about the *grittiness* of the film, or the realism by which soldiers are shot, or which German unit was carrying what submachinegun and wearing a certain patch—it’s the existential heart of the film. What is the question that it poses, through its characterization? And what is the answer it discovers? For Thin Red Line, the conflict is established early on as between two types of humans’ perceptions about the world—Sean Penn’s character, the surly realist HHC 1SG, versus the disobedient but idealistic medic (forget his name) who’s caught AWOL. There’s an extraordinary scene where 1SG explains that he’s assigning the soldier as a stretcher-bearer, and the AWOL soldier says something to the effect of “you can’t break me, I’m twice the man you are,” and they go back and forth about the nature of existence. Then they fight and both of them are actually decent, brave people, caught up in the savagery of the world and nature. Really, neither of them are broken, but neither are able to escape unscathed. That, to me, is true.

          Between going to war (not on the scale of WWII, but not insignificant, either, especially my second deployment) and reading a lot more about WWII history from an Eastern European perspective—the people who were conquered, occupied, and ravaged by the Germans themselves—as well as German and Soviet views of the war—it’s very difficult to condone a strictly triumphalist, good guy – bad guy film, and that’s where Saving Private Ryan ends up. Its question is “what would you do if your Jewish buddy was getting killed by a Nazi you released because you were a sucker,” and the answer is, “do some war crimes.” Band of Brothers, on the other hand, offers a much more nuanced view of its protagonists, and has the added benefit of being true—I certainly didn’t begrudge those soldiers and officers their memory of the war, how it ended, their role in it, what they felt that they did. Having said all that, I’m not sure why, but the German General giving the “band of brothers” speech still strikes me as off somehow. Unearned.

          With all that, I’m just one guy—a blogger, no less—and you know what they say about opinions…

  18. I started watching this movie because I think tank combat is interesting, but after about 20 minutes I was really annoyed by it. Commanders talking back to their CO’s, officers abusing the men under them, and all around antagonistic attitude towards their own brothers-in-arms made it all together ridiculous. I have a great interest and respect for all things military but not because of the soulless brutality or baseness of the people in battle. I am interested in those soldiers that can maintain their composure and execute orders under the most terrifying and trying conditions. I may be a romantic, but a true hero is someone who proves themselves through their actions and does the correct things in the heat of battle, regardless of how terrified they are, because they will do anything to help their comrades survive. These men were just disgusting. I watched this movie and felt bad for the Nazis (I agree, there were no Germans in this film) because Brad Pitt and his crew were the real monsters.I read a great book “Take These Men” by Cyril Joly, which recounts the British armored war in northern Africa during WWII. There was horror, loss, brutality, and despair, but they were still men of honor who worked together and held each other up in the most trying conditions. They also respected their enemy… they weren’t just goose-stepping Nazis, they were other soldiers doing a job.

  19. Haha… A critic written by someone who’s never watched the film… Hmmm… This is just like the bullsh*t of being back at school all those years ago and having teachers lecturing me on drugs they’d never actually tried themselves…
    Go watch the film first otherwise you’re just a fish talking about dry land

    1. Watched it. There’s no need to read followup post, because I totally nailed the film by watching the preview (if anything it got off light in my preview-review – was worse in person). Just goes to show, sometimes the haters are right

  20. Boyo- Movie was sickeningly a cheap re-hash of “Army Guy” cliche’s, and un- reliable dialog from a stolen comic book. I mean I literally could not finish watching it.Note to Simon above: Hollywood has gotten so pathetic you can critique without watching. They churn out the same bullshit over and over and sap us all for a good pay day, then got the large life you dream of. No? It was tedious to say the least. C’mon Man! – Brad Pit has lost the ability to even focus when he’s slapping his little boymeat forward gunner/ driver around for not firing on the german in the bushes who used the panzerfaust to turn the point tank into barbeque.His lines suck and he’s in close quarters and even roughing the kid up while forcing him to shoot “zee-german ” but yet Brad is reciting his lines looking off unfocused and dazed even, and this was through out the movie! I mean really pathetic. And his co-horts where doing the same thing. Not acting! It’s also time to let WW2 pass into the sands of time as they say. We did good there – but lets not spoil it by beating the topic pissless for want of someone who can write a good script. No?

  21. This is the kind of drivel I would expect from an English major wanna be come journalist. Listening to the usual liberal bloviating about ” Well, the revolver was incorrect for the period, but it doesn’t matter- it’s the blood spatter that matters.” While the actors may be marginal and the gore excessive it bears the message that indeed war is hell, but is necessary. Ask any of the few concentration camp survivors and the answer would easily reveal itself. It was the Nobelist act that one person or group of persons could have aspired to. Ask an aged Korean or Chinese person if America decided to remain neutral, how differently your life would have played out, if you survived the Japanese occupation? Yes, war blows. Every one involved in World War II sacrificed in one way or another. Some Mothers lost their Sons (or even Daughters) for a greater good of sacrificing your life and comforts on someone else’s betterment. What other love can one person show towards another by sacrificing their life for someone they don’t even know?These are the kind of weighty concepts that generations born after the Greatest Generation will never fully grasp nor could they unless presented under similar circumstances . Reasoning and negotiations can only go so far. At some point, when it’s right, you have to grab the enemy by their nose and kick their ass. This is what the war was all about. Hollywood doesn’t do a great job of portraying war honestly and correctly, but it does surve as a reminder that it’s not about how sexy an actor is, or if his or her equipment is period or correct or what personal demons they are fighting. Killing someone who deprived millions of people of their Right to “Life, Liberty and the persuit of happiness” is the right thing to do and war movies remind us of that- That sometimes war has a noble cause.

    1. Grant – your comments, so you know, took about 2 hours of my life, as I tried to respond to them. My first response was reason, which blossomed into rage, and then back to acceptance.
      I take this stuff seriously. This isn’t narcissistic – it’s 2015, nobody blogs any more. It’s not about making a name, or making money. Obviously you care too or you wouldn’t have read the piece and the comments. I respect that.

      Here’s where I and the rest of the site’s authors are coming from. We’re all combat vets, who’ve seen plenty of action in Iraq or Afghanistan. Afghanistan, twice for me, personally, and I grew up on stories about WWII from my grandfathers, WWI from my great-grandfather, and the histories of older generations who fought in the Civil War and Revolutionary War. I have nothing but respect for the veterans of all wars, who had to go through the trauma that is killing or wounding and/or being wounded by the enemy.

      That’s why I hated Fury. It was sloppy, and full of crap from start to finish, and didn’t honor WWII with its honesty or accuracy or whatever. If you’re going to take the time to memorialize the fallen American Heroes from all wars, do it right. Get it right.

      Thank you for reading this and taking it seriously. Apologies for not responding sooner – I was furious. I appreciate your dialogue and the questions you posed. -Adrian

  22. Hi, I read and enjoyed this ‘review’ of Fury. I might link to it from my own review, if/when I get around to posting it on my blog.

    Have you seen either Come And See, or White Tiger? Both Russian. The former is, I think, a real masterpiece of cinema, and a damn good (anti-) war film as well. The latter is completely bizarre. But they’re both worth seeing.

    I was researching views on and reviews of Fury, as food for thought in comparing that film with White Tiger, when I found your post. One thing I find odd about some views on Fury is that it’s realistic.

    The ending – with Pitt & co. butchering hordes of Germans – belongs to that Hollywood tradition that stretches back to Cowboys ‘n’ Injuns, where the ‘goodies’ dispatch loads of faceless ‘baddies’, for whom we’re supposed to have no sympathetic feelings at all, while each ‘cowboys’ death is dwelt upon (right down to sudden inexplicable silent lulls in the fight) as a major tragedy.

    1. Thanks for reading. I haven’t seen either film you suggest and will make a point to do so soon. With war films there’s a tendency in Hollywood to prioritize material “reality” over psychological or contextual reality, and to prefer propaganda to truth. This is so in part because there is such a healthy appetite for delusion in our deluded and insecure society. Realism is using the period machinegun or the correct unit insignia, and not, say, explaining why a man might decide to do one thing rather than another thing. Most people go to the movies to enjoy performative drama that confirms their notions about the universe. Of course war movies should have a higher standard of truth because they have the consequence of inspiring people to view war in moral terms, rather than as a catastrophe to be avoided at any and all costs. Seems like we’ll be learning that lesson again soon!

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