Friday, October 17, 2014

Best Job I Ever Had: Fury

The acting is really incredible, especially for Mr. Logan Lehrman, the true degree of his talent genuinely shines in this film; I would not be the least bit surprised to see anyone of the actors nominated for Oscars; additionally, the directing and cinematography was superb; it's a technical masterpiece, it's done incredibly well. However, we always reveal what it is we believe because we act (we express our will) in the morality we uphold and the choices we make; art is no exception. An American soldier named Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis (Jon Bernthal), who has harshly hazed Norman (Logan Lehrman) up to that point, lights a cigarette and tells Norman, "I think you're a good man. Maybe we aren't, but you are" referring to the rest of the men in the tank. This is an important moment in the film because "Coon-Ass" is a character the character you like least, so for the dumbest character to deliver the film's thesis is a direct message to the audience: only the boy who falls in love with the German girl is good, all the rest of the Americans are bad, and this is from the very start of the film to the very last scene.
The film follows two important rules that all other films follow: first, history films are never ever ever about history; they are always about the here and the now. Secondly, anyone who dies in a film, dies because they are all ready "dead." Fury is essentially a Saving Private Ryan that isn't nearly as likable. There are five Americans in this group, and only one of them lives, Norman, who is a border-line Nazi sympathizer. the Americans in this film are portrayed as ignorant and murderous. At the end of the film, even though the war will be over in just 2-3 weeks, the film chooses to make the sacrifice of the men appear totally in vain and that the war was never won and they didn't do any good because there were no concentration camps to deliver, political criminals were not brought to justice, and no one under German rule was actually being oppressed. Fury is a totally different film from Valkyrie (Tom Cruise) or The Book Thief, or Schindler's List: these films aren't about making Germany continue to pay a never-ending debt of public shame for World War II, those films are explorations of the Third Reich and how it happened and why, and what was being done about it; Fury, though, absolves the Nazis and essentially DENIES THAT THE HOLOCAUST TOOK PLACE because there are no concentration camps, there is not even a mention of that, or of the horrors that had taken place, EVEN THOUGH the film specifies that it takes place at the exact same time the camps were being liberated. This is the second film Brad Pitt has been in that has publicly spit in the face of Jews and Israel, the other was World War Z, when--in spite of their intelligent for-planning--Jerusalem was singled out for destruction so we could see the zombies attacking the ancient city and start getting used to the idea of Israel not existing. Someone really needs to publicly call him out on this and make him answer for the films he is making because this is absolutely unacceptable (after all, the press did it to Mel Gibson when he denied the Holocaust took place, and that seems to be exactly what Pitt is doing). 
When the film first opens, we hear noise: conflicting radio signals and static block out what anyone might be able to communicate; everyone is talking, but no one is listening. Noise is an effective artistic device meant to convey conflicting signals: in the case of Fury, even though the main characters are all Americans, they are anti-heroes (with the exception of Norman) because, like the noise at the start of the film, it's difficult to hear and understand what they are saying, because of their accents, their mutterings, their slang, etc. In other words, Americans are just full of noise. There are a number of countries that would agree with this. Just as noise is important, so silence is important as well: there is no talk about what the Nazis have done to drag the Americans across Africa, France, Belgium and into Germany; by the accounting of the film, the Nazis are completely innocent, never having a single one of their crimes articulated, which makes it look like America just invited herself over there for the sole purpose of murder.
Throughout the film, we learn how much Dan Collier (Pitt) hates the Nazis and especially the SS (Hitler's elite battalion of body guard and soldiers) but he never says why he hates them, he never enumerates the horrors socialism has brought to the world, or the concentration camps--in spite of the film taking place during April 1945 when the US army began liberating the concentration camps, the film makers made a conscious decision to ignore this and leave it out of the film--or that war was inflicted upon the US; Collier hates Nazis because he hates them, and that simple-mindedness extends to every American in the film. The US was in Germany because, according to the film, we like killing and that's what we are good at. In the scene depicted above, a German SS POW is being led through the camp because he's going to be questioned, and, seeing the SS German, Collier goes crazy and wants to kill him in cold blood, so his men have to hold him back to keep Collier from killing the German POW; Collier, "like all Americans," just wants to kill the man because he's a German and that's the only reason why America came across the Atlantic, was to kill people who were not Americans.
Several typed-out notations come up on the screen after the noisy radio communications, including the information that German military tanks were superior to American tanks; that's fine, we hadn't prepared for war the way the German state had, so sure, our tanks weren't ready for war; that's not the point the film is making, however, it wants you to know that the Germans were superior to Americans, and it spells this out in a number of scenes. To begin with, with Dan Collier (Brad Pitt) has to teach Norman how to kill, he explains it in the simplistic terms of, "They are Nazis and you are here to kill Nazis." There is no explanation, or reminder, of what Nazism and socialism were doing to the world, of the Jews and others who were dying in concentration camps, or the death and destruction the Nazis had caused throughout all Europe; kill them because they are Nazis.
But it gets worse.
Norman (Lehrman) failed to fire upon a teenager in the trees who attacked a tank, causing an American soldier, burning to death, to put his gun to his head and commit suicide as his body flamed. Collier blames Norman directly for the destroyed tank and dead soldier, so he's going to force Norman to kill a German soldier (the man on his knees in the bottom, right corner of the image above), with everyone watching. Norman refuses, Collier forces him by wrestling him to the ground and forcing his finger to pull the trigger, thereby killing the German (who was unarmed, pleading for mercy and not to be killed,) in the back just to do it. Norman is, of course, terribly upset; moments later, Collier says, "I haven't seen you eat all day, be sure to get something," which initially sounds as if Collier cares about Norman, but that's not what is being communicated: moments after killing a man, Collier now expects him to eat, because he wants killing to become as common to Norman as eating is.
The opening scene shows us a rider on a white horse, coming out of the fog, the smoke, and slowly walking across a barren field, then through the carnage and decay of a battlefield; out of nowhere, Collier springs out from behind his tank and attacks the German soldier and kills him with a knife. Collier takes the bridle off the horse and, after petting the horse, sets it free. Why is this important? The first scene is always the most important scene of a film, because good film makers are going to use it to foreshadow (they will fill the role of prophet) what happens later. Quite briefly, for perhaps a second, at the end, all the Americans are dead except Norman who escaped through the tank floor hatch and he fell asleep in the mud; when the light comes, we see the hooves of a white horse walk past the tank and then Norman is saved by the American ground troops arriving.
What does this mean?
This was really clever casting by the film makers. Shia LaBeouf plays Boyd "Bible" Swan, and his nickname (or "war name") is "Bible" because he is always asking men if they have been saved by Jesus Christ and going over to dying men and reciting the Lord's Prayer with them, as well as randomly quoting Scripture verse. Why is this clever casting? Shia has achieved the reputation for himself in Hollywood of being crazy. In this article, "The Many Faces Of Shia LaBeouf," the author recognizes how "dangerously close" the actor has come to wrecking his career for good because of his off-screen craziness and arrest-record (I am not arguing with the quality of Shia's performance, which is, I will say, exceptional acting and, again, is also a definite credit to the director); but I am arguing that they wanted someone that everyone would associate with "being crazy" to play the Christian so the film could cast a ugly light on anyone practicing the religion, especially as the Obama Administration is trying to squeeze our Christianity in the military completely, while making all member of the military take Islam-sensitivity courses and participate in their holidays and fasts. There are two important scenes involving Boyd: first, the scene where one of the guys wants to touch his mustache and Boyd won't let him. Hair on the upper-lip like this indicates animal appetites, and we see him killing Nazis with gusto (he's the tank's gunner) and is grateful for being able to kill them. As Americans, we are grateful to his character as well, however, the film ends with no victory, no purpose, no moral, everything they have done is just a speck in a giant void; in other words, there was no end to the war, and the Allies and America, according to the film makers, certainly didn't win the war. So Boyd's mustache is a symbol of his hypocrisy, that if God loves everyone, even Hitler, then why is Boyd killing them? The second incident involving Boyd is his quoting of both 1 John 2:16 ("Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. The world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever") and Isaiah 6 ("Who shall we send? Here am I Lord, I come to do your will"). Boyd quoting the Bible is meant, just as we saw in The Conjuring, to challenge Christians that, if you actually believe what you say you believe, then why are you fighting wars? What is the difference between doing what your invisible, non-proven God tells you to do, and what the State tells you to do? Everything is passing away in the world, you shouldn't own or have anything (which is the same argument form The Conjuring; please see The Devil's Hour: The Conjuring for more). The way Boyd dies verifies that this is how the film makers feel about Christianity: Boyd gets shot in the back of the head and it goes through his eye, symbolizing that Boyd "didn't see correctly," he was seeing the Scripture's backwards (the bullet going in through the back of his head and coming out the front) because Jesus Christ didn't intend for people to worship God, but to serve Cesar and the State (sot he film makers are arguing). When Boyd quotes Isaiah 6, Collier knows the Book and verse number and says so; this knowledge, is ultimately the reason Collier dies: it's not his slavery (symbolized by his whipped back, discussed below), nor is it even his harsh treatment of Norman because he tries to make up for it and at the dinner with the two German women, tries to show that he is better than other Americans because he speaks German. No, Collier could have been spared death but Collier knew the verse of the Bible, suggesting that he has some belief in God and anyone who believes in God, according to the socialist film makers, has to die. We saw this, again, in World War Z: the only reason why that androgynous girl Seneg survives is because she sublimates her identity and she doesn't talk about her Jewish identity or God. This is political propaganda in its purest and most raw form.
Horses usually symbolize "spirit" (usually the Holy Spirit but, in spite of the Biblical references in the film, I really don't think that's what it symbolizes because there is nothing religious that happens, this is discussed in the caption above) and that spirit (the horse) wandering over the barren field, is supposed to symbolize the spirit of socialism that was spreading across Europe; had America (symbolized by Collier jumping out and killing the German) not become involved in the conflict and killed all the Germans, the Germans would have spread socialism "peaceably" and then the whole world would be socialist all ready.
The Americans have taken over a German town and Collier and Norman entered an apartment with two German women hiding. Instead of raping and looting, as the other Americans are clearly doing below in the town, Collier hands Emma (in the blue dress) some eggs he has wrapped up in the box so they will fix them for him). In not raping, looting and vandalizing, like the other Americans, and because Collier can speak German, he forms a bond with the two women as they bring him hot water and Norman plays the piano. The eggs, very importantly, symbolize "new life," and Collier's ability to speak German suggests that he knows the language of the "enemy" (I know German as well, there's nothing wrong with German, but the film makes such a big deal about "killing Nazis" that, as Guardo asks, "How did you learn German before you got here?" which is never explained). Anyway, Collier is in a supreme position to be "baptized" into socialism, because he's sharing the eggs with everyone there (spreading new life); Collier also takes a sponge bath and shaves, so this symbolizes Baptism (Norman had been asked earlier if he was saved and he mentions that he had been baptized; the film, however, isn't interested in spiritual cleansing, but in political cleansing, so Collier, in being in the German apartment, with the German women and speaking German, is being initiated into socialism). Collier also shaves, so the removing of the beard suggests he's going to overcome his "animal appetites" to kill for the sake of killing (as opposed to the other tank members who, when they join Collier and Norman, make it clear they are very much living out their appetites by the way they treat the women, Norman and behave in general). As Collier washes himself, Norma plays the piano and Emma sings, but then stops when she sees Collier's bare back in the mirror: it's covered in terrible scar tissue. What happened to Collier we don't know but it almost looks as if he had been severely whipped like an escaped slave; these scars are the indications of why Collier is not "allowed" to live by the film makers: he is a slave to his way of life and he won't give it up
Norman still being alive, and the hooves waking him up, is a metaphor that the "gentle one" (Norman, who didn't want to kill Nazis just to kill them) who survived is now "awake" to the spirit that is coming and that's why he survived. There was a part of Norman that did die, that's why he covered himself in dirt and fell asleep in the cold mud, as an act of death and maybe even penance, but just the bad, American part of Norman died. An American Red Cross worker checks Norman over and tells him, "You're a hero," and it's not because they held the cross-road, it's because Norman has overcome his lesser-self and will become a socialist,.... no, it doesn't make any sense, but that's what they want the audience to believe. Remember, a character lives because they are the film makers' ideal type, and Coon-Ass told Norman that they aren't good men, and the reason is because they are Americans but Norman hates everything they are, even if that is within himself.
Collier threatens Norman that, if Norman doesn't take Emma into the bedroom (to have sex with her), then he himself will, so Norman and Emma go into the bedroom and make out; before that, however, Norman reads her palm, which his grandmother taught him, and points out that Emma has the "Ring of Solomon" sign on her hand, which is rare, but he has it, too.  "You like to help people," he tells her; this ties in with Germany being superior because it was socialist: in America, "you're on your own," as Pitt's character says in Killing Them Softly, but in Nazi Germany, you can have someone like Emma help you. Most people would consider Palmistry to be superstitious because there is no science to it, whereas Christianity has endured for 20 years; the film makers, on the other hand, appear to be arguing that because you can physically see and touch the Ring Of Solomon on someone's hand, that is not superstition but, because Christianity cannot be touched, that is superstition and must be done away with. When Collier and Norman first entered the apartment, Emma was under the bed hiding for fear they would rape her (her skirt was hiked up on her leg, though, and her blouse wasn't tied up at the top, so she looked loose anyway). Just as Emma was under the bed hiding from the Americans, so Norman will be under the tank hiding from the Germans. 
At one point in the film, Collier tells Norman, "Ideas are peaceful, history is violent." This makes no sense at all. He's suggesting, again, like in the opening sequence with the white horse and German soldier, that the Nazis were doing nothing but spreading the Gospel of Socialism, and the Allied Forces violently attacked them simply for "spreading an idea." AGAIN, there is NEVER mention of the horrors of what the Nazis were doing, and err by omission is tantamount to lying. Someone might say though, what about the children that were hung for not fighting for Germany?
Collier, Norman and the two women in the picture were going to have dinner together and then the other three men from the tank found them and, without being invited, joined them (because that is what Americans do, and America, the film makers would argue, wasn't even invited to join the war, they just came over and started murdering everyone). This dinner is a very painful scene, with Coon-Ass licking Emma's egg then putting it back on her plate and acting like nothing was wrong. Guardo, who is drunk, tells Norman the story of when they got past the beaches on D-Day and had to get over all the hedge-rows (I can't believe they got that part right, so they know the history, they just intentionally changed it) and after the fighting, there were all these horses. "Do you like horses, Norman?" Guardo asks, because for days, they did nothing but kill horses because there were so many of them. Instantly, your mind is going to think of Steven Spielberg's World War I film, War Horse, and you are probably going to ask why the horses couldn't be put to some use. The horses couldn't be used because Americans like to murder things (this is another argument why Collier might have escaped death had he not known the verse for Isaiah 6, because in the opening scene, he could have killed the horse, but he let the horse go instead). Guardo describes how you have to pet the horse on the head and then put a bullet in its spine, and then ends by telling Norman that he wasn't there with them when they went through that, so it's not fair that Collier is having dinner with him, when Norman hasn't earned the right because Norman ins't a ignorant butcher the way the other three are. This is the "logic" of the film.
When Collier's group reaches the town they are supposed to siege, they see young people and even children who are hanging (as in dead) publicly with signs written in German saying, I refused to fight for the motherland of Germany. A group of kids surrenders, and Collier sees an SS officer among them; he asks a teacher if that officer was responsible for what happened to the kids and the teacher responds yes, so Collier shoots the SS officer. This is the thing though: what Collier does, is what an American would do, and the film makers disagree with it because children don't belong to their parents, children don't even belong to themselves: everyone belongs to the State. You have no will of your own, you have to do whatever it is the State tells you. So, in being socialists, the film makers believe the SS officer was right to hang the children for "treason," and if you are an American who is happy that Collier shot the SS officer, that just proves that you are a blood-thirsty American who was an aggressor. If you are an American, however, the exact opposite is true.
Often in art, a tangible object will become a character in the narrative, like the Ring in The Hobbit, or the landscape, or the tank Fury in the film. Special attention is given to the tracks of the tank and there are three specific scenes when the director focuses our attention there: the first scene is Norman's first time in the tank, just before the ambush, and the tank is rolling over trees and small forest brush; the second scene is when there has been a dead body in a very muddy road for a long time, flattened, and the tank tracks go right over it without even noticing; the third is when the tank goes over a mine and the tracks fall off. As a vehicle, the tank symbolizes the American will and will power: the first two examples, the tank is crushing into the ground whatever it wants to crush (the earth and a dead person); in the third instance, the ground rebels against the tank and the ground (the mine) pushes and crushes the tank instead of letting the tank crush it; this is supposed to symbolize what a rebellion against American "imperialism" should be like. Collier calls the tank "home" and that's probably another reason why he dies, Collier identifies with the American attitude the film makers want to vilify so the villains have to die, all of them, including the tank.
At the end, Collier (severely wounded) and Norman are the only ones still alive; Norman tells Collier he wants to surrender, he doesn't want to die, and Collier asks him not to surrender because they will treat him badly and he will die a bad death; Norman wants to surrender so he escapes through the hatch and survives. Had Norman been a German wanting to surrender, his officer probably would have shot him dead; but since Norman is an American wanting to surrender, that's a different issue entirely; why? Socialism is intent on the "wussification" (the degrading and erosion) of the white, American male; in wussing out on his brothers-in-arms who died, Norman is supporting the socialists by not doing the macho thing and dying like a man, so he's allowed to live because an American like Norman is never going to be a threat to the socialist world order. To support this, there is one last detail: the ending.
When Logan first meets the tank crew, they tell him to clean up the mess in the gunner's seat (their gunner had just been killed), so Norman is in the tank, cleaning up the human carnage inside and, to his horror, he sees the entire side of the gunner's face laying on the floor of the tank. What does this mean? The face symbolizes our most basic form of identity, so the scene is a foreshadowing that, if Norman stays in the tank (instead of surrendering), he will lose his face, i.e., his identity, as "Norman," which is a symbol for the "Normal Man." So Norman will cease to be Norman and, instead, become like Coon-Ass, Bible and Wardaddy Collier. This is just about to happen when, in the scene before the fighting begins, Coon-Ass tells Norman he's a "drinking and killing machine," and the crew decides that Norman's "war name" is "Machine," and that's supposed to be a sign that he's one of them. The blown-off face refers to Norman being a machine--i.e., the tank itself--instead of a human, a "normal man." 
Collier has died and Norman has slipped out through the hatch and hides under the tank in the mud (this is his metaphorical death and burial scene) but a German soldier looks under the tank with his flashlight and Norman looks up at him, shaking his head "No," pleading not to be turned in; after several tense moments, the German turns his flashlight off and marches off, Norman not being turned in. Why does the German soldier not turn Norman in? This scene is the exact opposite of the scene at the beginning when Collier forced Norman to shoot the German who was begging for mercy because he had a wife and family (Norman does not) so Norman not being turned in is to show how merciful the Nazis were compared to the Americans.
Under immense pressure to do something "respectable" about ISIS, at least pretend as if he has a strategy, Obama responded in part that he would "degrade" ISIS. America has never "degraded" our enemies in the past, because we never had anyone using Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals in place of the Constitution; Alinsky, however, calls for enemies to be degraded, and that's what we see happening to America by the film makers.  The film makers hate America so much, they show a painful sequence of total incompetence where 4 American tanks are incapable of taking out 1 German tank. (the scene depicted above). A scene like this exists solely to degrade the vets of all the Allied forces, but specifically America. This was the opposite situation in Battleship where the veterans were celebrated and honored (please see In God We Trust, All Others We Track: Battleship for more). 
Fury is just one of several liberal films attempting to re-write history: War Horse, Gangster Squad, The Monuments Men, The Lone Ranger and even The Conjuring with our understanding of the Salem Witch Trials; however, they weren't nearly as bold as Fury is. Please remember the example provided to us by the Tom Cruise film Edge Of Tomorrow: every time his character re-sets the day, it's because he got the skill from the alpha male he killed (who symbolizes a liberal) because that's what liberals do, they re-set history every time they can't answer for something, so they are never accountable for the historical record proving what a disaster socialism is (please see Beneath the Louvre: Edge Of Tomorrow & Mimicry for more).
One small bright spot in the film: Scott Eastwood, son of Clint, has a small part.
The men in Collier's group often joke that, being in the tank during the war is "The best job I've ever had." It might seem like a desperate attempt to make light of a black situation, but because the film so consistently criticizes these Americans, they actually mean it, because, again, THE ONLY REASON Collier gives for them being there is, "They are Nazis and either you kill them or they kill you," that's all there is, so being able to murder people as they please, is the best job Americans can have because that's what we do. I am ashamed this film was made, and my deepest sorrow and regret goes out to every veteran and their family from England, France, Australia, Canada, the US and every other country that so valiantly fought to stop the spread of this evil; no apology could be sufficient for the lie this film wants to spread for a political agenda of Hollywood elites.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner