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Fury (2014)

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Nor do I accept "if good men do not kill them first, then evil will prevail."  I would accept "if good men do not deter them."


Like Walter Sobchak, I dabbled in pacifism for a while, but realize it's sometimes untenable in the real world.  Nonetheless, deterrance, democracy, and diplomacy have massively reduced the number of war casualties since the 19th Century.  Godawa needs to read Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of our Nature and add some nuance and depth to his thinking/writing. 


Were I still a Christian, I would feel some shivers when such thoughts are expressed under a title about "manly Christianity."  Hell, as a non-Christian it creeps me out.  Such notions of manliness were a driving force for my pastor in Connecticut (he was one of those who loved Gladiator, but of course had never served in the military).  Ironically, considering the subject of this thread, Hitler himself co-opted Christian language and leaders for his manly warmongering and establishment of the Third Reich.

Edited by Andrew

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa


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Brian Godawa: "War and Evil Through the Eyes of Manly Christianity":


So, when Norman is forced to kill his first SS captive, he balks and says it isn’t right. Wardaddy explains that it isn’t about right and wrong, it’s about survival against soldiers who will kill you if you do not kill them first. This is not a brutish denial of morality, but rather a simplified way of explaining the hard reality that when evil people seek to kill you, if good men do not kill them first, then evil will prevail. Sound at all familiar with the terror of today?


See, this is the thing. I can't accept the idea that every single German soldier was "evil". Not when their government was conscripting them and forcing them to participate in defending their homeland.


I'm currently reading a terrific book (A Higher Call) on just such a person - Franz Stigler - a German pilot with a deeply Catholic background, and his encounter with a crippled American B17 bomber deep in German airspace.  This is a more valid definition of a type of "manly Christianity" to strive for, IMHO.  This story is the  inspiration for this John Shaw painting...



Edited by John Drew

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude

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Hey All,

I have been a lurker on these forums for a while, and through a mixture of frustration and maybe desperation, have finally been driven to post in hopes that other thinkers of faith can help me out.


I talk a lot about the end of the film which is why most of this is marked as a spoiler.


I have been haunted by this film since seeing 4 days ago, and have barely stopped thinking about it since then. I’ve been baffled that critics seem to largely disregard it--at best I’ve seen folks write it was an incredible 2 acts followed by a floppy 3rd. At risk of exclusivity, and my theory as to why it has largely fallen flat in the world of film criticism, is that I believe this is a film only a Christian can digest. Unlike most War films, this one does not seem to be about Man vs. Man, Man vs. War, Good vs. Evil, but about Wordliness vs. Other-worldliness. After the first battle in the film, there is a scene in which Don “Wardaddy” Colliers is by himself staring out over a field. More than in any other film I’ve seen, I felt desperate to know what he believes in--to whom or what is he praying?


As I see it, there are two marks of light (very dim, but light nonetheless) that stand at either end of this film. The first is is the conversation “Bible” and Grady have with Norman as he joins their tank crew. They ask him “Are you Saved?” He says he goes to church. They insist that isn’t what they asked and repeat the question, as if to underscore that it’s not coming from anything on this earth. At the other end of the film is the final scene in the tank before the last battle in which “Bible” and Don are trading Bible verses and Don recites “He who loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Everything between these two markers is violent, morally bleak, glory-less and ultimate hopeless. The successes are usually at the cost of a character’s humanity and integrity. One of the scenes that stuck with me is Norman’s expressionless look as Don tells him that if he wants to make it through this thing he needs to do what Don says. We ask with Norman, “Is it worth it?”


In his insistence on realism, I feel like David Ayer is forcing the issue: If you love this world, if this world is worth redeeming, than you need to account for this because it’s part of the world and it’s ugly as Hell. The final image also seems to confirm this. Norman, the sole survivor of the last battle, is walked to the back of an ambulance, while ignoring everything and everyone around him, including being pronounced a “Hero.” Perhaps I’m forcing some poetry here, but it seems intentional to me, but the camera then cuts between Norman staring through the dirty rear window (dare I say “a darkened glass?”) and what is conventionally known as a “God’s Eye Shot” of the bloodied and war-torn battlefield he is driving away from.


I feel that part of the reason is isn’t appealing to more is that it completely denies terrestrial glory and finality.

Am I totally misreading it?

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Hi igcroush.


I was also moved by the film. No, I didn't see what you had found in the film, but maybe I would if I viewed it again with this in mind.


There's little doubt that Grady represents the directors worldview when he asks "are you saved" and rejects the idea of child baptism being sufficient.  This would lead one to think that the writer/director is a "born again Christian" of some variety.  I would think that the film is portraying Don as someone who is interested in Christianity, has some understanding of it, and some sort of faith, but not in the same place as the film's Grady character.  Remember, right near the start of the film Don corrects them on why they had survived as long as they did.  He says that it was "grace."  So we have some indication of his beliefs right from the start.



But anyhow.  Just because I didn't receive what you got from the film doesn't necessarily mean that you are misreading it.  If that what it speaks to you, then it is what it is.  


I don't expect that the film wouldn't be doing well because only Christians can understand it though.  I think that it would work on enough levels that others would have much to glean from it.  If anything I would think that the film wouldn't necessarily be well received because of the current stressful climate, what with ISIS and the Ebola crisis and other alarming things going on in the world.  When the world around us becomes stressful a lot of people tend to gravitate towards comedy or other sorts of genres that take their minds off of the problems, not films like this that are pretty heavy, and in fact, kind of troubling in places.  Indeed, it is a film that reminds us of some of the worlds crisis'.  Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that lots of people wouldn't want right now.

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