What movie was that...?

20 May 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

directed by mastermind George Miller
Some children muse over having super powers, or winning a shopping spree at a toy store, or the dazzling magic of an endless summer. It was with the same amount of zeal, reverence and conviction that my little brother and I used to spend hours debating what another Mad Max movie would be like, such was our love for those films. Hours spent pondering plot points and characters, using the trilogy’s clues to inform this fantasy film, to will it to life if only in our imaginations. One such high water mark was when we realized that a new actor could play Max, taking up the name for either personal gain that blooms into altruism or, possibly more interestingly, reasons that remained cloudy and selfish. And maybe the real Max comes back!... And maybe…! 

For years that was enough, but now, in 2015, like a breath of fresh, sand and exhaust choked air, Mad Max: Fury Road is a thing that exists, and I couldn’t be happier.

Much has already been said of mastermind (my favorite part of the trailer!) George Miller’s fourth Mad Max film, so I will not bore you with lengthy academic theses pertaining to the much needed (for film in general, I mean) feminist approach to the narrative, the amazingly strong performances by Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, or the gutpunch elegance of the action. What I will say is that I find Miller to be masterful at crafting dystopian cultures that mirror the deterioration of societal values in the wake of literal, technological destruction. Just as modernity has crumbled, so has the modern mind, leaving to thrive in this wasteland the brutish, oppressive mankind of an earlier time. Immortan Joe espouses the virtues of a pseudo comitatus relationship between himself, his Warboys and his precious commodities, water he withholds from the unwashed masses and his collection of “wives”.  It’s a hodgepodge of misremembered anthropology, junk history and poisoned philosophy tainted by psychotic megalomania, a pastiche that cultivates the veil of control. Additionally, another element of modernity lost to nuclear war (alluded to in the preamble) is the quest for progress. No one in Max’s world is working on re-industrializing society, or making medicine, or building a school, and even Furiousa, the most sympathetic character in all 4 films, doesn’t seemed concerned with such lofty pursuits. Perhaps that’s the point to Miller, that in such a brutal, chaotic world, the desire to save another life is lofty enough.  In any case, for the little boy who spent a lot of time pondering a fourth Mad Max film, even to the point of having unreasonable expectations, Fury Road delivered on all fronts. And for that, little BC can begin again with the speculation of what a fifth addition might look like…