Brad Pitt was joined by dozens of dignitaries in Washington to celebrate the world premiere of director David Ayer’s new WWII film drama Fury.  

The story takes place in April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theater, a battle-hardened tank commander, played by Pitt, leads his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.

Director David Ayer told VOA that the drama conveys both his personal military experience as a sonar operator on an attack submarine in the 1980s, as well as his directorial drive to chronicle an armored WWII battle as intimately and accurately as possible. 

He says he wanted to convey a band of brothers fighting a desperate battle while cramped inside a Sherman tank. He says that the audience experiences their relationships, their joys, fears and horrors.

“We really go inside on what is like to fight that war,” Ayers said. The filmmaker says he is the first Hollywood director to convey how it is to fight a desperate battle inside an armored vehicle and how brave it is for soldiers to fight a losing battle within the confined space of a tank.

During the red carpet event in Washington, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the film appears to accurately convey the horrors of war.

He says he likes realistic war movies that depict both the valor and the heroism but also the horrors of war. Films like that, he says, serve as reminders “why we do not want wars.”

In response to a question about how WWII battles compare to today’s conflicts, the retired Army general says they should not be compared. “It’s a different war, different time. We are not fighting an enemy as clearly defined as the enemy was when the second army division went against [the Germans.]”

Brad Pitt portrays the film’s lead character, Wardaddy, who is trying to get his men out safe while surrounded by the Germans.

He tells VOA that “living in a country where people have big ideals about humanity, we don’t completely understand that those ideals don’t necessarily come into play in a battlefield, where it is kill or be killed and there are different rules.” He continued,” this movie, this film, this visceral experience that David Ayers put together speaks about that cold hard reality,” adding “I walk away with it understanding a little more deeply what soldiers are going through.”

He admitted he is not concerned about possibly competing against his wife, Angelina Jolie’s, upcoming WWII film Unbroken, in next year’s Oscars.

“She made a great movie,” he said. But he adds the two films offer completely different treatments of WWII. 

He says Fury is about “what one is forced to endure in a war, in combat,” while Jolie’s Unbroken is about the triumph of the human spirit under  insane and horrible conditions. “It’s a great film!” he said.