Mad Max: Fury Road
Kiki on 08/31/2015
This film is aptly named. It was MAD. And amazing. And brilliant. And just mental to look at. And to think I almost didn’t see it!
I should clarify, I’ve never seen any of the originals. I know the basics, no petrol, steam punk aesthetic, desert world (Australia?), essentially post-apocalyptic gone mental. Let me tell you, this film stands almost entirely on its own and is hella entertaining nonetheless. There is a helpful narration at the start of the film which I assume sums up what has happened to Max up to this point. This narration is great, you realise now, because a) it is probably the same amount of dialogue that Max speaks for the following two hours (yeah, this film is waaaay light on the dialogue) and b) it is blessedly fracking short. Long narration is one of my worst things.
Following the narration Fury Road IMMEDIATELY jumps into action and does NOT fracking stop. For two actual hours. It’s genuinely heart-pounding action in a way that you haven’t seen in a long time. I haven’t said ‘Oh my god!’ out loud so many times at a film in the last ten years. I don’t know what it was about the effects but they felt real in a way that many CGI laden films just don’t. The direction and editing is just fantastic, too – some seriously mental things happen but it’s all so clear and easy to follow. George Miller, people, this is how it is done!
I almost don’t want to spoil the film but the more I think about it, the more I’m utterly sure I can’t. I mean, the plot is paper-thin. It’s a two hour chase film, with Max drafted in to help those on the run. That’s…it. I think I probably wrote more words for one of my A-Level essays than are spoken in the film, yet the acting and direction is just seamless; Charlize Theron does more with her eyes than most do with a lengthy monologue, and the glimpses you see of the world mean you can more than guess at what drives her to find redemption. Max, never a loquacious guy to begin with, spends the first third of the film with an iron muzzle on (though some of lines here cracked me up, particularly during the first chase into the sandstorm) but still projects such a sense of world-weariness and just surviving that you get the sense he’s slightly astonished still to be here at all.
You wouldn’t think you could believe that this band of people, running from patriarchy and slavery and environmental disaster, running towards redemption and hope and the chance of better, could bond so quickly as to make the film’s climax have an emotional hold. But the relentless action and sense of urgency is so strong that you can’t help but believe it.
Finally, there is one particular point of the film where 10+ women are onscreen, all of them talk at some point, and never about a man. I only realised this when I came out of the film (as I was fangirling Furiosa super-hard because UMFGHGH) and my friend who I was with said ‘isn’t it interesting how Max wasn't exactly the main character? He was in the right place at the right time, but even if he wasn't, those women would have just carried on.’ Because it’s seriously fracking nice change of pace to see a (really really) high octane action film that could generally be assumed to be the manliest thing around, with such a bevy of women who are taking charge of their own destiny.
Also: flamethrower guitar. For real. Five stars, people.