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.