Friday, October 17, 2014

FURY film review

Anyone who’s seen Harsh Times, End of Watch or U-571 knows there are certain films that stay with the viewer after being seen.  Fury (2014) is a film of the same caliber, and director David Ayer took no shortcuts in making what may be the best World War II movie since Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.

The performances are convincing, the action gut-wrenching, and the down-time thought-provoking.  Brad Pitt gives an excellent performance as a jaded tank commander turned into a cold realist by three years of brutal combat.  Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, John Bernthal, and Logan Lerman provide solid supporting acting that brings out the best in every other performer’s character.

The scenes where bloody-handed tank crew members discuss God—and what His plans could be in such a hellish environment—seem hokey at first, but as the characters persist with the topic, the discussions force the viewer to ponder.  This movie forces the reader to view the fragility of life and death and to confront the ever-blurring line between right and wrong.  I also appreciate how the film shows there was still some humanity in Germany by the war's end [but no spoilers].

I won’t spoil anything, but people quickly find out that what seems like the right thing to do is wrong and gets people killed.  At other times they’ll find out that what seems like the wrong thing may be right.

The main battle in the movie involves the tanker crew defending a crossroads so the enemy can’t pass and slow the Allied advance. [This isn’t a spoiler; it’s in the movie trailer!]  In this case the enemy isn’t the Wehrmacht–German government army—but rather the SS—the Nazi Party’s fanatical private army.  The American tankers have seen the SS force children to fight (as cannon fodder) and what the SS does to civilians who refuse to support the war effort any longer.  They’re not letting this SS main force get away.

The main characters in this movie are at the tail end of the war in Europe, but the SS wasn’t ready to cry uncle.  The SS was still killing people, soldiers and civilian noncombatants alike.  Furthermore, the vast majority of SS troopers weren’t surrendering like their Wehrmacht counterparts who knew the game was over.  These were the most fanatical supporters of National Socialism, of white supremacy, genocide, and a global German empire.

Now the battle begins.

As libertarians, it’s important for us to reflect and take something away after a heavy book or movie like this one.  We can cling to libertarian talking points about non-intervention in foreign wars.  We can talk about how this war wasn’t our war, about how FDR was looking for a fight and in 1941 he got one.  We can say those things until we’re blue in the face, but we’re past that.  Far past that.  These individuals were there, and people were trying to kill them.  Full stop.

In my opinion, any libertarian in the situation depicted in the movie must first ask, What can I do to keep myself alive?  Next, What can I do to keep my friends alive?  Finally, What course of action will keep more people alive?  What will the SS deliberately do to civilians in the next town?

The hell with them.  Let the murderers of the SS continue to rot in hell with all the rest of the people who deliberately murder civilians.  Yes, according to libertarian non-intervention theory, the U.S. military shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but that factoid is too little, too late when one is facing off against a battalion of fanatics with machine guns and rocket launchers.

In today’s world, non-intervention is the best foreign policy.  There’s nothing we can do to change the past, but I’m still glad that the Germans lost that war.  It was horrible that the Soviets were among the winners in World War II, but the Soviet Union no longer exists.  I still have nothing but respect for all the men and women who beat back the Wehrmacht, destroyed the SS, and shut down Hitler’s totalitarian state, death camps and all.

In the meantime, we libertarians must maintain a self-defensive mindset, for ourselves as individuals, for our families, our communities, and our country.  Remember, just because we as individuals are non-interventionist DOES NOT mean that foreign armies are as well.

Go see Fury, it’s worth it.

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Fury movie poster is the property of Columbia Pictures and used according to Fair Use law.  Image obtained from Wikipedia.

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