A gloom hangs over writer-director David Ayer's brutal war drama Fury that only the audience can see. It's April 1945. The war is already over — Hitler just hasn't admitted it. Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) suspects as much, but he isn't sure. And so he, his men, and their tank roll on through the German countryside, shooting and dodging a final barrage of bullets that is no less fatal for being futile.
Instead of flags and patriotism, Fury is about filth: the basins of blood, the smears on the soldiers' exhausted faces, the bodies pushed around by bulldozers, and a decomposing corpse that's melted into the mud. The men's moods are equally dark. Collier's team — dumb hick Grady (Jon Bernthal), temperamental but wounded Gordo (Michael Peña), and stock religious guy Bible (Shia LaBeouf) -- has had the mixed fortune of surviving every battle. The squad's fifth man has just been shot, and the first thing his replacement, a typist named Norman (Logan Lerman), is ordered to do is mop up his predecessor's blood and dispose of his face, which has been flung in the corner like melted cheese.
This is a film about present-traumatic stress disorder, a condition none of the men have words to express. It's structured like a string of grenades: Collier's tank just keeps chugging toward the next explosion, and the men inside are so fixated on survival that no one takes the time to ask what it all means. In trying to say that death is both noble and pointless, Fury makes the fatal mistake of so many war movies: It divides the battlefield so that our deaths are lofty, and the enemies' mean nothing.