Starring In 'Fury': The Horrors That People Are Capable Of In War

Oct 20, 2014
Originally published on October 20, 2014 7:21 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's talk about a different kind of power - the brutal power of an army at war. The movie "Fury" topped the box office over the weekend, and our critic Kenneth Turan has a review.

KEITH TURAN, BYLINE: "Fury" stars Brad Pitt in the bleak and savage story of a World War II tank crew operating in Germany during the last month of the European war. The advance spin on the movie is that it's not your grandfather's war movie, but that turns out to be only half true. The grizzled tank crew headed by Pitt's Sergeant Don Collier, also known as Wardaddy, fits squarely into familiar Hollywood models involving men doing what men have to do because no one's going to do it but them. Shia LaBeouf plays a crew man named Boyd.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FURY")

SHIA LABEOUF: (As Boyd Swan) Here's a Bible verse I think about sometimes, many times. It goes, then I heard the voice of the Lord saying whom shall I send, and who will go for us? And I said, here am I, send me.

TURAN: But what makes "Fury" modern is its emphasis on the extreme violence the men ferociously inflict. As the tank heads out on a bloody series of missions, it's as if the astonishing Omaha Beach slaughter that opens "Saving Private Ryan" characterized an entire film. Then a new guy joins the group. He's practically an infant - in the Army just eight weeks and trained to be a clerk typist. Wardaddy's mission is to educate him in violence so his scruples don't endanger the rest of his team.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FURY")

BRAD PITT: (As Wardaddy) Why are you here? You're here to kill him. Do you know why he's here? He's here to kill you.

LOGAN LERMAN: (As Norman Ellison) This is my first day.

PITT: (As Wardaddy) He's here to kill you. He's here to rip your throat out.

TURAN: One of the themes of "Fury" is not only that people are capable of horrors, but that individuals can come to relish the process. Best job I ever had is one of the catchphrases that men in this killing machine use with each other, and the ghastly thing is they half believe it's true.

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and The LA Times. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.