'I had the best gunner in the army, now I have you'.
Dan 'Wardaddy' Collier, played by Brad Pitt, loses one of his tank crew and is assigned, by a man with a clip board, a new member. Norman, later known as 'machine', has had 8 weeks in the army and trained only to type at 60 words a minute. He joins with these other 4, dehumanised crew members who have been fighting for years. Logan Leman plays Norman convincingly as a sensitive pacifist who too can be turned into a trained killer. During his first field mission he is immobilised by fear and unable to kill the enemy because he says the target was 'only a boy'. The lead tank is destroyed and the crew meet with a horrible death. Wardaddy commits a war crime and in no time Norman is an effective killing machine.
Brad Pitt isn't the only star. Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal match him with convincing performances. The end is gruesome and perhaps predictable, but there is no letup of the tension. The images, music, impressions and the dreadful conditions the soldiers have to live with may stay with you for some time, as they did with me. It is 134 minutes of unforgettable horror, but a reminder of the senseless killing that war is all about.
Special interest, not mentioned in the film. 5 days after the death of Hitler 3 Sherman tanks, together with anti-Nazi German soldiers fought off a S.S. Panzer division who had come to kill the V.I.P prisoners in the Schloss Itter in Austria. A wild story but never the less true.