The new WW2 movie Fury is a descent into war madness, full of constant mud, blood, and guts. Probably not a second of this movie about a tank crew has any beauty to it – just one unrelenting scene of churned up, ground up earth and humanity after another. And it’s brilliant. One of the most grueling movies I’ve ever watched… a two hour case study in unrelenting tension with some phenomenal but gritty and intense action scenes.

This movie stars Brad Pitt, Michael Pena (from End of Watch), Joe Bernthal (Shane from the Walking Dead), Logan Lerman (from Perks of Being a Wallflower), and (true cannibal) Shia Labeouf (from the tabloids) as a tank crew just trying to survive the final days of WW2. This is a tank full of the good guys but terrible men… American soldiers who have been through the meat-grinder across two continents who are just doing their job, trying to save their own lives and that of the allied infantry around them. But they are also real jerks… likable sometimes, but generally not playing to stock heroic WW2 characters. Even usual good guy Brad Pitt does awful (from our perspective but not from his) things and Joe Bernthal (damn you, Shane) is just an unrelenting jerk.

The tank battles and general combat are stellar – gripping and suspenseful like nothing I’ve seen in a long time – made all the better by the fact I have no idea where the movie is going since it doesn’t seem to have much of a plot or a mission… it’s just these guys in a tank in enemy territory. Nobody is sent on a secret mission to destroy X before Y happens meaning that anything could happen at any time. I don’t know if it’s historically accurate in its depiction of the tanks, tank warfare, infantry movements around said tanks… but it FEELS like it is.

In the end, this is a great movie but it may not be a movie I’d want to sit through again. And if the idea of 2 hours of tension full of mud and guts seems like it’d be too much, you may want to avoid it. It’s not for everybody, of that I am sure. This is as much as a recommendation as it is a warning.

I’d see it though… it’s really pretty great.

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