FURY Not pictured: a severed face.

WHEN NORMAN (Logan Lerman) is assigned to the WWII tank Fury as a tank driver, the first thing he has to do is scrape up half of a face: ragged skin, thick-splattered blood, and one eye, still staring blankly. It belonged to the last guy who had Norman's job.

That's the kind of movie Fury is: grimy and bloody and reveling in its greasy gruesomeness. That's par for the course for writer/director David Ayer (he previously made End of Watch, Street Kings, Harsh Times, and the underrated Schwarzenegger comeback attempt Sabotage). But this is the first time Ayer's made a war movie. It's a good fit: In the waning days of WWII, as Norman gets to know his fellow soldiers in the tank—Wardaddy (Brad Pitt), Bible (Shia LaBeouf), Gordo (Michael Peña), and Coon-Ass (Jon Bernthal)—there's plenty more blood to be found. But there are a few weird, engaging quirks, too: Not many WWII movies take a hard left turn into slow-boiling domestic drama, for example, but when Fury does, with Norman and Wardaddy sharing a disconcerting afternoon with two German women, Irma (Anamaria Marinca) and Emma (Alicia von Rittberg), in the ruins of their shattered town, it ends up being one of the film's best scenes. Even more impressive are the tank combat sequences, with Ayer somehow wringing intensity, speed, and surprise out of lumbering, shuddering tanks. Like the claustrophobic, blood-splattered tank in which it's largely set, Fury rumbles on, solidly, brutally doing its job.