FURY is a film about a five-man tank crew called the Fury that fights its way into Nazi Germany during the last weeks of WWII.
Brad Pitt plays Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, the crew’s sergeant and leader. He fought the Germans in Africa, Belgium, France, and now he’s fighting the Germans in Germany. Along with a few others, he’s managed to keep it together in the midst of the horrors of war by making it his mission and priority to watch out for his crew. They recognize this as the reason they’re one of the few tanks who haven’t fallen apart.
Logan Lerman (The Perks of being a Wallflower) plays Norman Ellison, a boy virgin to war. He barely looks twenty and has never used a machine gun, and he has just bent sent by the army straight into the trenches to replace Red, the Fury’s fallen soldier. He’s a boy with principles, something that serves both as a refresher for Don but also an inconvenience. His inexperience and the obvious repulsion and intolerance he initially shows for war might just get them all killed.
What FURY transmits in scene after scene is the continuing sense of threat to both life and psyche. The struggle to keep all sorts of tempers under control as the Fury continues on its mission of invading Berlin. The shock and consequent emotional release of almost every scene sets the pace from the beginning of the movie until the very end. These soldiers literally lived on the verge of death day after day.
Shia Labeouf plays Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan, the tank’s gunner and resident christian. Referring to his crew, he said he was ‘done trying to convert you heathens’, but the mutual respect between all of them is apparent. While far from perfect, in many ways he’s the crew’s most compassionate member, the type who comforts and prays with fallen soldiers until they die. He has deeply internalized the christian message of sacrifice, which helps him relate to war in a way that he can understand.
Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Wolf of Wall Street) plays Grady, the tank’s loader. He’s uneducated and sort of savage, but not incapable of observation and smarts. The role is played to perfection by Bernthal. The chemistry between Grady and Boyd as loader and gunner of the tank is present throughout the film’s more humorous scenes and also the most emotionally loaded: when they side against Don after he excluded them from a moment of decency you could tell he was deeply craving for in the middle of his war-saturated reality.
Michael Peña plays Gordo, the tank’s resident latino. He’s a sensitive soul, but has somehow managed to find the strength within himself to bear the war as best as he possibly can, like the rest of them.
What it all comes down to is that FURY is a movie about a group–no, a family–of tankers on a mission to hold the line of attack against Germany. The german artillery is more powerful than the american and many fall against it. What people on the outside consider acts of heroism, for the guys in the trenches it feels more like a journey through the base, the coarse and the violent, but also through bravery, also through sacrifice, and also, ultimately, through ideals.