Just like Fury isn’t a movie about World War II, American Sniper isn’t about the Iraq wars.
Nor is it about 9/11 and it’s aftermath.
And certainly not about an American Sniper.
This movie is about America.
This is what a hero should look like according to yourself, Eastwood tells us.. Did you not decorate him? Did you not buy his biography in droves. Did you not read the book from cover to cover? Did you not gulp down the story of an all American blond haired, blue-eyed Caucasian guy with a pretty girl-next-door wife, who goes out to protect the greatest country on earth?
A man of duty?
A man of inner nobility?
An all American hero?
This is why it doesn’t matter whether the movie is set in Iraq, the Outer Hebrides or Middle Earth.
This is why it doesn’t matter who the enemy is.
And this is why it doesn’t matter whether the movie contains a truth or not.
The only thing that matters is the larger than life depiction of an unblemished hero.
And Eastwood doesn’t hold back and goes one step further.
The American sniper invades, for it matters not.
The American sniper shoots enemy soldiers, because they are not.
The American sniper takes out women and kids, because they are not.
Any unease that an American soldier might have shot a someone in violation of the Geneva-convention is taken away by clearly depicting the enemy for what they are: they are orcs
Is that what really happened, America? Was every civilian death such a clear case of the enemy using any means whatsoever and thus justifying a reaction in kind? Did you really wait for the civilians to show their hostile intent before gunning them down?Did the fog of war not exist? Or did you flatten their houses and mow them down with machine guns before they could become a threat? All to protect the greatest country on earth?
Perhaps it was Eastwood’s intent, or perhaps not, but the movie is a mirror to what America is not. The more shinier the American sniper becomes the starker the contrast with reality this picture is.
The American sniper is all what an American soldier should be like..
So unlike reality..
After delivering his key-speech on the necessity of outsourcing his employees to another company to prevent layoffs and cutbacks, the general manager made as if to fold some papers, but he had none as the company had become a real paperless office and communicated only electronically.
The select few in his room moved to congratulate him. They were familiar faces: the painted one of his personal secretary, the stubbed ones of his senior managers and the fresh ones of the junior assistants who would become managers themselves some years into the future.
The mass of employees whose fate was just sealed watched them on small and large screens in small and large rooms all over the world and saw only the smug smiles on those remote faces. Unknowingly the live broadcast had not yet been disconnected, but it didn’t really matter anyway as they had never been connected in the first place.
Whenever a Tiger I tank and SS troops appear together in a movie you can bet the federal gold reserve on it that this movie is not about historical accuracy. This doesn’t mean that Fury has no a sense of historicity, but world war II movies are actually never about world war II but about the spirit of the time they are made in. If you don’t believe me, just (re)watch Kelly’s Heroes and compare it to Saving Private Ryan.
The spirit of Fury isn’t a pretty one if we are to take our queues from the crew that operates her. During most of the movie they never display any redeeming quality that would endear them to us, they are a truly sad crew. We have reached the bottom of the well as far as humanity goes. Even Apocalypse Now isn’t as gloomy as this one. These are dark times were the best are the worst or the other way around. Well, not as bad as the enemy perhaps, who even hang their fellow country women for refusing to resist the invaders in a time that resistance is futile, but as bad as can be and only marginally so.
The key scene is one where Brad Pitt together with Rookie invade a house where two German women hide out. it is one long protracted threat scene that screams rape with every frame. If you have seen Der Untergang, or have read the Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan, you will be aware of how these women would have felt. It isn’t a pretty sight to behold.
Fury has a scary anchor point, which is that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it, because you have been told to do it and nothing else matters. It reminds me of a phrase of the game Mafia II: in the war the president pointed the finger at whom to kill, now it is the hand that pays me. This movie is thus about moral bankruptcy.
In a human society there is no place for any of the crewman of Fury with an exception perhaps for the rookie who is the least tainted. Society can not work with the scumbags that war has created, and who have traded in their morals and compassion for the command: go forward and kill regardless.
They are the walking dead.
It just needs a bullet to remind them that they are.