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Rough brotherhood

God and guns.

Fury: War may be hell, but it is also muddy.
Fury: War may be hell, but it is also muddy.

Fury’s title refers to an American tank that started out WWII fighting Germans in Africa and is now pushing toward Berlin as the enemy makes its last stand. Its crew — evangelical Shia LaBoeuf, brutish Jon Bernthal, pragmatic Michael Peña, and lordly Brad Pitt, perched above them all — is muddy, weary, and suddenly saddled with newbie Logan Lerman, eight weeks in the Army and delivered unto them by mistake. Except, assures Bernthal, the Army (like God) doesn’t make mistakes. Ours is not to reason why, or even to fret about right and wrong. Ours is to kill Germans, and the sooner Lerman learns that, the better. As Pitt puts it: “Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.” No sense complaining.

Movie

Fury **

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The title refers to an American tank that started out WWII fighting Germans in Africa and is now pushing towards Berlin as the enemy makes its last stand. Its crew — Evangelical Shia LaBoeuf, brutish Jon Bernthal, pragmatic Michael Pena, and lordly Brad Pitt, perched above them all — is muddy, weary, and suddenly saddled with newbie Logan Lerman, eight weeks in the Army and delivered unto them by mistake. Except, assures Bernthal, the Army (like God) doesn't make mistakes. Ours is not to reason why, or even to fret about right and wrong. Ours is to kill Germans. As Pitt puts it: "Ideals are peaceful. History is violent." No sense complaining. Speaking of God: talk about Him and His unsearchable ways pervades the proceedings, even as the carnage, cruelty, and carnality threaten to swallow all. It's almost enough to make you think that writer-director David Ayer (<em>End of Watch, Training Day</em>) is saying something about violence at the heart of religion. Or vise versa.

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Speaking of God: first thing, the boys ask Lerman where he’s from, which doesn’t matter, and then what he believes, which does. God-talk pervades the proceedings, even as the carnage, cruelty, and carnality threaten to swallow all. Soldiers are compared to prophets sent by the Almighty. Present loss is considered in light of the eternal reward for those who do God’s will. Folks even argue about whether God could possibly love the monstrous opposition. By the time writer-director David Ayer pulls back on his final shot, perhaps the most appropriate response is, “Of course: violence — heroic or horrific, depending on your point of view — at the very center of religious belief.” Suddenly, things don’t feel quite so historical.

Speaking of Ayer: the director of End of Watch and Training Day hasn’t lost his touch for depicting rough brotherhood. Sergeant Pitt loves his men, but he’s happy to kick their asses if need be. And while I can’t recall much about End of Watch’s patrol car, I won’t soon forget the spare, metallic thingness of Fury’s tank, nor his apparent delight in rubbing my face (and also some poor soldier’s) in the reddened slime of the Greatest Generation’s war.

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Fury: War may be hell, but it is also muddy.
Fury: War may be hell, but it is also muddy.

Fury’s title refers to an American tank that started out WWII fighting Germans in Africa and is now pushing toward Berlin as the enemy makes its last stand. Its crew — evangelical Shia LaBoeuf, brutish Jon Bernthal, pragmatic Michael Peña, and lordly Brad Pitt, perched above them all — is muddy, weary, and suddenly saddled with newbie Logan Lerman, eight weeks in the Army and delivered unto them by mistake. Except, assures Bernthal, the Army (like God) doesn’t make mistakes. Ours is not to reason why, or even to fret about right and wrong. Ours is to kill Germans, and the sooner Lerman learns that, the better. As Pitt puts it: “Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.” No sense complaining.

Movie

Fury **

thumbnail

The title refers to an American tank that started out WWII fighting Germans in Africa and is now pushing towards Berlin as the enemy makes its last stand. Its crew — Evangelical Shia LaBoeuf, brutish Jon Bernthal, pragmatic Michael Pena, and lordly Brad Pitt, perched above them all — is muddy, weary, and suddenly saddled with newbie Logan Lerman, eight weeks in the Army and delivered unto them by mistake. Except, assures Bernthal, the Army (like God) doesn't make mistakes. Ours is not to reason why, or even to fret about right and wrong. Ours is to kill Germans. As Pitt puts it: "Ideals are peaceful. History is violent." No sense complaining. Speaking of God: talk about Him and His unsearchable ways pervades the proceedings, even as the carnage, cruelty, and carnality threaten to swallow all. It's almost enough to make you think that writer-director David Ayer (<em>End of Watch, Training Day</em>) is saying something about violence at the heart of religion. Or vise versa.

Find showtimes

Speaking of God: first thing, the boys ask Lerman where he’s from, which doesn’t matter, and then what he believes, which does. God-talk pervades the proceedings, even as the carnage, cruelty, and carnality threaten to swallow all. Soldiers are compared to prophets sent by the Almighty. Present loss is considered in light of the eternal reward for those who do God’s will. Folks even argue about whether God could possibly love the monstrous opposition. By the time writer-director David Ayer pulls back on his final shot, perhaps the most appropriate response is, “Of course: violence — heroic or horrific, depending on your point of view — at the very center of religious belief.” Suddenly, things don’t feel quite so historical.

Speaking of Ayer: the director of End of Watch and Training Day hasn’t lost his touch for depicting rough brotherhood. Sergeant Pitt loves his men, but he’s happy to kick their asses if need be. And while I can’t recall much about End of Watch’s patrol car, I won’t soon forget the spare, metallic thingness of Fury’s tank, nor his apparent delight in rubbing my face (and also some poor soldier’s) in the reddened slime of the Greatest Generation’s war.

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Pro war propaganda Hollywood style.

Oct. 30, 2014

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