So says Brad Pitt’s hardened Sgt. “Wardaddy” Collier, quoting the prophet Isaiah, in the riveting WWII drama “Fury.”
It’s a sentiment shared not just by his long-time tank crew, together since the earliest days of the war, but eventually by its newest member as well, platoon typist Private Ellison (“Percy Jackson’s” Logan Lerman) through whose naive eyes we witness the consequential carnage that comes with saving the free world.
Their symbiotic adhesion no doubt began as conscription, at best patriotism, before morphing into duty and valiance, until finally this: a way of life. “Best job in the world,” they quip to each other.
Wardaddy’s crew and the tank they call “Fury” are one of several called upon to secure a strategic crossroad deep in German territory. But an ambush along the way and a mechanical failure at the site leave them with little more than their resourcefulness to battle hundreds of approaching Germans.
The intense no-time-for-dithering action rivals the genre-topping “Saving Private Ryan” and Pitt turns in at least as nuanced a performance as Hanks. Both are reluctant warriors. Hanks outwardly. Pitt hides his aversion under a layer of crust only occasionally leaking gems like, “Ideals are peaceful, war is violent.”
The ever-present mud, mood and cinematography are surprisingly more reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s WWI “War Horse” than Pitt’s other WWII homage, “Inglourious Basterds.” The abject selflessness Pitt and company demonstrate is akin to the heart of two other well-executed historic battle films, “Glory” and “They Died With Their Boots On.”
Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal round-out the crew of “Fury,” personalizing the interior of their Sherman tank much as we do the walls of our office cubicles. But they rarely outshine either Pitt and Lerman.
Director David Ayer, who grew-up in Bloomington, also penned the script. Ayer was behind the gritty 2012 police drama “End of Watch” (that also co-starred Peña) though he is probably best known for writing Denzel Washington’s “Training Day.”
Ayer’s brings this trademark (and critically-acclaimed) rawness and paradoxical character study here in what is easily one of the best war films of the past quarter century.