Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fury - Film Critique

Set within the onslaught of WWII, Fury provides a practical and raw depiction of warfare and the cruelty of mankind. Highly inappropriate in terms of language and realistic carnage, Fury succeeds as an emotionally striking film designed for the audience to be overwhelmed by shock along with the experience of the characters surviving in a chaotic swirl of savagery, abuse and forgotten morals.

Appreciatively, the historical accuracy of military units and weaponry were utilized as a main element, examples of WWII era trademarks such as grenades, smoke bombs, mortars, rapid fire and a mass of US tanks proceeding 
Allied fire appears as red lasers to assist the audience's sight
in converging columns through a series of hedgerows weeks after the commencement of D-Day. A prominent example of US firepower was displayed through a glimpse of the air force which passed by overhead while a battalion of Sherman tanks led by tank Fury confronted a German Tiger and an SS brigade as the Allied forces strove to conclude the war by subduing town after town as the unit continued to press on into Germany.
Norman's introduction to Don & tank unit: Fury
However, the direction of the plot intended not to glorify the military but to expose trampled virtue. This theme is emphasized through the demoralization of Norman Ellison, a youth who’s loss of innocence is continually stressed throughout the course of the film. Introduced as a bumbling clerk-typist disgusted by injustice, he is swiftly taught a lesson by his commander, Don "Wardaddy" Collier, who physically forces him to murder a captured German POW, an act signifying the first tainting of his character with his first shedding of blood.
Don orders Norman to finish the POW, arguing that war is "to kill or be killed."
From this point, he is further instructed to engage in improper relations with a German girl, the diminishing of their purity, and finally through the manner in which he strikes down his enemies with artillery fire while chanting curses at the oncoming barrage of Nazi forces before his tank. During the finale, his companions entitled him “machine” as that is what he has become, a machine of war devoid of compassion; the young soldier no longer seeing his enemy as a human being but rather as a target to be extinguished for the sole purpose of an end goal swamped with vengeance.
Norman stands atop his gunner hatch
Surprisingly, Fury highlights that it is but a German soldier who is to be merciful upon Norman. Ironically, the soldier appears to be roughly the same age, a fact that not all Germans are monsters and that many are caught up within the throes of war, similarly sharing Norman’s fate. The German’s compassionate gesture harkens the trace of what Norman has lost; that noble former self he had intended to maintain. His inner commitment to displaying justice regardless of the immorality around him is expounded by how Norman’s terrified eyes stare up in desperation at the German soldier who kindly smiles and deliberately chooses to spare the life of the young boy covered in mud and the blood of his fallen comrades.
An impactful theme laced throughout Fury is the portrayal of tarnished morality. This motif is visible in Norman and through the example of a character Boyd Snicknamed “Bible,” a Christian who poses as the moral compass of the tank. Although Bible displays grace and is a channel pointing towards salvation, he additionally serves as an overpowering presence in certain instances, specifically in the scene where he aloofly sits on the tank, refraining from looting while soldiers plunder the captured town and while at the dinner table in the German home. His presence reminds his platoon leader that they have a duty to respond to, one of which does not allow a pretense of peace while at war.

Boyd "Bible" Swan receives orders that Fury is to proceed further into the Rhine
However, Bible’s consequential nature also falters in the face of moral indignity, wherein he remained silent when there were appropriate times in which he should have stood resolutely for an actual execution of ethics instead of standing disapprovingly by as his company devalue and humiliate the German ladies and in another instance when they cuss, jeer and erupt into praise over the massacre of Nazis with the desire to extend their suffering. Ultimately, Bible’s character offered the dim light of salvation and a purpose beyond the harsh reality experienced in Europe, 1945. His unexpected demise could even be argued as a pardon from God, concealing Bible within Himself in order for the Christian to not experience as much pain in his instant death compared to the lingering doom awaiting those remaining within Fury.
I heard the voice of the Lord calling, "Who will go for Us?" And I said, "Send me."
While this film does not receive a high recommendation, as the characters were difficult to find endearing, I appreciated the director’s attempt to portray a realistic account. Despite the artistic intention, I found myself hardly caring whether they survived for I had become disenchanted by their adverse behavior, deplorable logic, inhumane treatment of women and thoroughly disgusted at the militant culture that subjected its own soldiers to promote such brutality to simply prove the point that its either your death or your enemy’s in war, regardless of how practical and base that notion is.
Conclusively, Fury presents a harsh exposé of American soldiers during WWII – showing how a fierce, typically drunk and foul-mouthed, mismatched band of soldiers were able to loosely unify around the tank that they were willing to sweat, bleed and die within in order to protect one another and preserve the pursuit championed by the Allied forces. The film climaxes with Norman being heralded as a hero yet such praise starkly resonates with the fact that they are indeed heroes, but heroes that compromised their morality for the sake of unrealized ideals accomplished through anything but just means due to succumbing to animalistic tendencies and debase ethics justified by war. Their sacrifice, no matter how gallant a demise, does not justify previous brutality and the battalion’s blatant disregard of righteousness.