Big Screen :: Mad Max: Fury Road
May 18th 2015
Mad Max: Fury Road is the type of movie where a woman goes into labour in the back of a semi-trailer that has caught on fire while speeding through the desert…
… while being chased by dudes covered in spikes on tricked-out dirtbikes who leap over it while throwing exploding harpoons.
It’s a movie where a blind guy named The Doof Warrior blasts out metal riffs from a double neck guitar that spits fire while suspended on top of a huge truck covered in amps and drums, engaged in a death chase through a blasted post-apocalyptic hellscape.
It’s also a movie that is explicitly and unashamedly a deeply feminist critique of war, religion and the patriarchy. It contains multiple complex female characters of all different ages who are not defined by their relationships to men, and who kick arse without sacrificing their femininity.
I am not even joking. Mad Max: Fury Road is the very best type of movie.
The film is basically one long chase sequence with a lot on its mind. The set-up is that The Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, betrays a post-apocalyptic warlord and cult leader named Immortan Joe by rescuing the five women he is keeping as sex slaves for the purposes of breeding non-deformed children. She takes off across the wasteland searching for a tribe of female warriors named the Vulvani in a giant war rig, but she’s pursued by a whole fleet of bizarre freaks who want the women and their babies back. Mad Max gets dragged along for the ride, too, but he’s more of a passenger and is barely interested in their plight at first.
This was just one of the brave choices that George Miller made: to have his movie be about Furiosa and not the actual title character.
I know a little about how films are staged, shot and edited, and I have no earthly idea how some of the stuff in this movie was ever committed to film. It was made in Namibia, which perhaps doesn’t have the most rigorous workplace health and safety laws; but I still don’t understand how multiple people didn’t die staging some of the mayhem that we see.
Other than a few short gaps to catch your breath, the film feels like it’s mostly action sequences. These sequences are things of beauty: amazingly edited and full of crazy stunts, stunning images, and jaw-dropping details all set to an awesome, pounding score by Junkie XL. The idea that both the director and cinematographer of this movie are 70 years old is staggering. Tom Hardy gives a weird sort of mumbly performance as Max which I was surprised by, but still enjoyed. For the most part, though, he seems happy to surrender the movie to Furiosa.
This is fine by me, because Theron owns the screen and has created a character able to stand next to Ripley as an iconic female action heroine.
I seriously wasn’t joking about the feminist aspect, by the way. Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler consulted on the script and some crazy Men’s Rights Activists are calling for a boycott. That should show you just how good Mad Max is because all of the very best things are boycotted by Men’s Rights Activists. (It makes me deeply satisfied to know that those dipshits won’t watch this glorious film.)
This is a pretty disjointed review. I feel like I just want to rant about all the amazing things in this movie but you’re probably getting bored, so just go watch Fury Road, okay? Thank me later.
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