Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ and David Ayer’s ‘Fury’ have several similarities. Both films are set during World War II and have Brad Pitt’s characters leading a group of soldiers to kill the Nazis at any cost. The “Basterds” in the former and the soldiers assigned to Fury, the medium tank, in the latter kill German soldiers with immense hatred. Therefore, the viewers can’t be blamed for wondering whether Ayer’s 2014 movie is a sequel to Tarantino’s 2009 one. Well, Ayer’s war drama is not a sequel to Tarantino’s highly acclaimed thriller. In many ways, the former is the exact opposite of the latter! SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Contrasts Between Inglourious Basterds and Fury
Quentin Tarantino made ‘Inglourious Basterds’ as a “guys-on-a-mission” film which is set during the Second World War. “Here it was, ‘I’d like to do a movie about a bunch of guys on a mission, but it has to be ‘really cool.’ I’m counting on the fact that I’ll be working in this specific genre and that I will expand it and blow it up to some degree while still offering the pleasures of that genre. So, it was never about ‘Let’s do a World War II movie Quentin’s way.’ It’s more ‘Let’s do a guys-on-a-mission movie,’ and the Quentin part will happen on its own,’” Tarantino told Pop Matters.
More than a commentary on the war, the movie offers thrills, which is evident in the scene in which Jewish-American soldiers kill Adolf Hitler. Like most of the guys-on-a-mission films, ‘Inglourious Basterds’ ends with the “guys” fulfilling their mission as they end World War II and save the world from the Nazis’ atrocities. Ayer made ‘Fury’ as a reaction to movies that celebrate World War II events. He intended to turn the camera to the failure of the “guys” who tries to end the war by killing Nazis. “It’s a different world from your usual war movie where we celebrate victorious campaigns like D-Day or the Battle of The Bulge,” the director told Daily Express.
Ayer set out to capture the “loss” that occurred during the Second World War rather than the gains. “That’s what I’m trying to capture, that sense of tragedy and consequence which I feel so often is missing from these [war] movies,” he added. That’s the reason why his characters fail to kill Nazis and be victorious. While ‘Inglourious Basterds’ ends with Brad Pitt’s Lieutenant Aldo Raine creating his “masterpiece” by killing Standartenführer Hans Landa, ‘Fury’ ends with the actor’s Don “Wardaddy” Collier getting killed by German soldiers along with his wartime brothers.
Through Don and his fellow soldiers’ deaths, Ayer makes it clear that World War II was something that took the lives of several human beings tragically. ‘Inglourious Basterds’ doesn’t offer such a commentary on World War II. Since Tarantino’s intention was not to make a war film, he didn’t have to care about offering one anyway. His obligation was to do justice to the “guys” on the mission. Hitler’s murder and the end of World War II are just the results of those guys’ success.