In this weekend's "Fury," Brad Pitt returns to the front lines of World War II for the first time since starring in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds." But he's trading in Aldo Raine's scalping tactics for a seat inside of a tank.
Directed by "End of Watch" and "Sabotage" filmmaker David Ayer, "Fury" focuses on a small crew operating a tank called Fury, ripping through the final days of World War II. Critics all acknowledge the film's gritty, realistic and unflinching look at the ugly sides of war, veering as far away from the heroic aspects of World War II as humanly possible.
Here's what the reviews have to say about Pitt's latest movie:
The Story and the Crew
"It’s the spring of 1945, and Allied troops are converging on Berlin from all directions. Everyone knows the war will be over within days or weeks, but Wardaddy’s tank platoon and a few other undersupplied fragments of the U.S. Army are trying to wipe up pockets of resistance across southern Germany.
"His crew are a deliberately stereotypical collection of army types: Shia LaBoeuf in a low-key, focused performance as 'Bible,' the scripture-quoting born-again; Jon Bernthal as 'Coon-Ass,' the debauched and dangerous good ol’ boy; and Michael Peña as 'Gordo,' the bilingual Latino from the Southwest. Their longtime machine-gunner has been killed, and it falls to a raw draftee named Ellison (Logan Lerman), who trained as a clerk-typist, to clean what’s left of the former gunner out of the tank and take his seat.
"Ellison serves as our window into the world of the war, which he is eager to avoid or resist. When the other guys meet Ellison, at first they start guessing where he’s from, as in one of those classic war films. When he starts to answer the question, they tell him to shut up: They don’t actually give a crap. It falls to Wardaddy to break this kid, condition him to killing and earn him a 'war name,' so they all have a chance to go home." — Andrew O'Hehir, Salon
The Pitt of Despair
"Commanding them is U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Don 'Wardaddy' Collier (Brad Pitt), a man deliberately shorn of identifying details from before the war. He’s seemingly unflappable and tough as nails; he speaks German and sports an undercut that’s both period-appropriate and the height of current fashion. As his name indicates, he treats his men with a paternal ease that sometimes means comforting them and other times putting a gun in their hands and forcing them to kill an unarmed German. When we see a hint of vulnerability from him, it’s one he hides from his men, a quick panic attack he gasps out when no one can see him." — Alison Willmore, Buzzfeed.com
An Eye For Violence
"In the opening moments of 'Fury,' David Ayer's film about the nasty, brutish business of war, a knife-wielding American soldier named Wardaddy ambushes a German officer. It isn't enough to stab his victim in the chest and heart. He ends with a flourish, piercing the Nazi's left eye with an audible squirt.
"Talk about driving home a point. 'Fury,' named after Wardaddy's bullet-pocked Sherman tank, is determined to be not-your-father's World War II movie. That genre, born in the 1940s as a form of morale-boosting entertainment, cast Hollywood strong jaws like John Wayne in leading roles and tended to omit unplesantries like, say, putrefied corpses. 'Fury' does the opposite, and even adds touches of despair and pointlessness. The action begins in April 1945, mere weeks before Germany's surrender -- but first, says Wardaddy, 'a lot more people have to die.'" — Rafer Guzmán, Newsday
"Tank warfare in the final days of World War II sounds like primo escapism for action freaks. 'Fury,' written and directed with exacting skill and aching heart by David Ayer ('End of Watch'), doesn't let us off easy with vid-game violence. Ayer thrusts us into the furnace of the Fury, a Sherman tank commanded by Don 'Wardaddy' Collier (Brad Pitt), until we feel as battered as the crew." — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
The Final Word
"Writer-director David Ayer's 'Fury,' a film about tank warfare in the waning days of World War II, does not flinch or fuss when it comes to showing the blood, gore and gristle of modern armed conflict. But at the same time, by doing so, it attains a savage grace that turns its brutality into a kind of truth, as hulking metal juggernauts crush across the landscape spitting fire and death with fragile, mortal flesh-and-blood men inside. This isn't disposable popcorn entertainment, or a winking 'war' film like 'Inglourious Basterds.' Ayer's aim here is a film that will stick, and stick with you. And he achieves it." — James Rocchi, TheWrap.com
"Fury" is open now.