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“Ideals are peaceful; history is violent." These words by Sergeant Don “Wardaddy" Collier resonated within the belly of a World War II tank, nicknamed Fury.

This claustrophobic Sherman tank is home to its crew of five: Led by Collier (Brad Pitt), there’s Bible (Shia LaBeouf), Gordo (Michael Peña), Coon-Ass (John Bernthal) and rookie Norman (Logan Lerman). It’s 1945 and the Allies are rumbling into Germany to make their final push to end the long war.

Much in the mould of previous American war films, writer-director David Ayer’s period film paints the Germans in black and white (as villains) and the Americans as saviours.

Pitt’s Collier is the quintessential veteran, motivating his weary crew, leading the charge, and willing to fight as an army of one. His cold soldier who has accepted his fate is contrasted with the death of innocence portrayed by the young Norman. Collier’s human side comes through when he takes Norman under his wing. The scenes that attempt to humanize the protagonists, while also portraying the darker side of war, are too contrived. But the raw battle scenes are riveting.

The tank battles are the best parts and Ayer, whose work to date includes mainly action films such as Sabotage and Street Kings, commands these with an assured hand. The music complements the rhythm of the screenplay—violent, noisy crescendoes, followed by sharply contrasting scenes with gentler beats. You cannot ignore the script’s moral high ground. Can there ever be a justification for war and the needless killing of the unwitting, without a right side and a wrong one?

Fury released in theatres on Friday.

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