I haven’t been to the movies in a long time! The last time I went, before this one, was to watch “Guardians of the Galaxy” which came out ages ago!
My policy when it comes to movies, is that the cinematic experience is reserved for the pieces that deserve it…Like, how one might listen to a Vinyl record, to get the experience that an MP3 will inevitably miss…That is exactly how I feel about Cinema recently, it is an experience that one cannot have staring at an LCD screen with headphones on…It just doesn’t cut it…
And on that note, MadMax : Fury Road, fits into all those boxes, that will compel me to go to the movies…
- A Soundtrack actually worthy of surround sound. Check.
- Camera angles and shots worthy of 3D – Check.
- BAT-SHIT INSANE ACTION, unrivalled by anything that has come before…DOUBLE CHECK!
Mad Max:fury Road ticks all the boxes and gives rise to new ones…Not only fulfilling my action movie Fanboy fantasies, but also putting me in awe of the film-making itself., but all the while maintaining integrity in the course of the narrative and the characters.
Before we get to the good stuff, I will briefly address the issue that has given this movie it’s most notorious press, and spawned a few hundred internet articles accusing the film of being “Feminist Propaganda” and an equal amount of opposing arguments…with one MRA, calling on the patrons to Boycott the film…
There was a similar onslaught from internet Social Justice Warriors that forced Joss Whedon to quit twitter after being accused of misogyny, because apparently he did not portray the character of ‘Black Widow’ to the ridiculously subjective standards of various groups.
RELAX! It’s only a movie.
And a thoroughly entertaining movie at that, George Miller himself said that the film is not a remake or a reboot, but a ‘revisit’ to this unique dystopian world. The last Mad Max film ‘Beyond Thunderdome’ came out in 1985…30 years later, this is a welcome revisit.
The film hits the GO Button immediately, with Max being captured by the warlord Immortan Joe and his war boys army, the film never really slows down after that. Max’s attempt to escape is the first example of the film’s language, with fast paced cuts, disorienting camera angles and sound design which is chocked with metal, fire, hell and screams…The audience has no time to breathe…There has been no action film before that has such a high octane pace…we can take a couple of sequences from the Fast And Furious franchise, a few car chases here and there from other films…But this is another level of action poetry, that I as a fan of action movies from all over the world, have not come across. The closest film that I can think of with this level of originality in it’s portrayal of action scenes is Nicholas Winding-Refn’s Drive. In comparison though, Drive was like drinking a can of coke, while Fury Road is like having several shots of Monster energy drink injected straight into your chest.
The Mad Max films have always been described as dystopian punk-westerns, and like many westerns, the plot in this movie is simple and designed to keep the action moving forward. There are a few scenes which are quiet and tend to push the character and narrative further, obligatory of the 3 act structure…3 instances of character development, spiced with 3 insane over-the-top car chase sequences…which equals to the formula for a movie that wins…
Hats off to the writing, which stays true to the adrenaline of the film, and the characters are not exposed through monologues, or soliloquies, or extremely unrealistic emotional scenarios, but through the action, the scene which comes to mind as the most present example is the scene in ACT 2, when Imperator Furiosa’s rig, on it’s way to The Green Place, gets stuck in the evening sands, escaping from the endless-ammo of the lords of the bulletfarm, (Awesome cinematography, if you catch the flick, an awesome contrast between blue and orange) The characters and the dynamic of the narrative is brought into focus…not through blatant exposition, but through how the characters relate to one another and the environment, in the heart of peril, this to me was the most perninant scene as far as the narrative is concerned.
Now let’s get into the film making aspect of things…Production design is top-notch, The editing is ACE! And everything else fits the pace of the action, and if you aren’t hanging onto the edge of the seat during these gems of cinematic gold, then I’m sorry….
As I said before…THIS MOVIE IS POETRY…the exploration of which in the visual medium has been reserved to art films, but with this re-incarnation, George Miller and his team (judging by the credits he has a lot of players) have brought heavy-metal-punk-action-western-pyrotechnic-rock-n-roll-dytsoptic-fire-cinema for the mainstream to enjoy…
And yes, one can write nothing short of a thesis paper on the thematic underpinnings of this piece, and yes, one can do the same about it’s action sequences, Yes, one can do the same about the amount of sheer effort involved in pulling off something like this, frame by frame.
But one cannot argue, that this piece of cinema is the most original piece of madness, that we have seen in a long time…In a medium that is tired with adaptation, remakes, reboots, and cliché recycled narratives, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD takes you back to the heart of exploitation cinema, what made Spaghetti Westerns so great, and to the heart of the reason why I go to the movies…To be truly and thoroughly entertained, and have my tolerance pushed to it’s limits.
If you feel the same, and if there is only one film you see this whole year, then MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is it!
Oh…What A Lovely Day!
(Editor – ARTbop alternative)
Dhaivat Mehta is a film-maker and performance poet, and a member of the Tauranga Writers…Involved with many aspects of local creativity! As an organizer he was responsible for last year’s National Poetry Day event “Caught In The Act” He also raps and does spoken word under the stage name Mantra