Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road
2015. Directed by George Miller.
"My name is Max. My world is fire. And blood. Once, I was a cop; a road warrior searching for a righteous cause. As the world fell, each of us in our own way was broken. It was hard to know who was more crazy. Me... or everyone else.
Here they come again. Worming their way into the black matter of my brain. I told myself... they cannot touch me. They are all dead.
I am the one who runs from both the living and the dead. Hunted by scavengers. Haunted by those I could not protect. So I exist in this Wasteland. A man reduced to a single instinct: survive."
It's this opening monologue that sets up the best film of 2015 and one of the best action films ever made.
George Miller produced a masterpiece. This is the action film's answer to The Thing (for Horror), to 2001 (for Sci Fi), and so forth. It is simply put, unparalleled.
I want to start with the criticisms of this film. The two common things that are said in detraction are:
1. It's just a chase movie. There's no plot.
2. I wanted more about the female characters and what happens outside of the narrative.
1. I'm not sure I'm watching the same movie. Yes, it's a non stop pursuit. If I started listing every film ever made with the same basic premise, we'd be here all night. The chase is the central vein, but there is so much more to devour in the arteries of this film. Miller built a world from fire and blood. The slang, the culture of the war boys, the flame-throwing Bard. the wasteland....this movie is the pinnacle of action based storytelling.
2. In a world dominated with machismo laced action, this film put women in the forefront, making them the centerpiece of this adrenaline fest. The women are the heroes, while Max is the passive lens through which you view the story. I can't think of more respectful treatment.
Every single aspect of this film is a masterpiece. The bare-bones, minimal approach script by Miller, McCarthy, & Lathouris is perfect. Nothing more, nothing less. Every word has meaning and nothing is wasted.
John Seale's cinematography is miraculous. I think it rivaled other contenders for the Oscar for it's sheer brutal caress. The use of practical effects whenever possible was only eclipsed by the most appropriate and non-cheesy use of cgi I've ever scene. Everything is a spectacle.
This is the first film that made me think that stunt choreography needs it's own award category. I remember sitting in the theater with my father, in FEBRUARY, months before awards would even be considered and realizing I was experiencing a tempest in a bottle.
Junkie XL's score is an intense heartbeat that carries you through the journey of Furiosa, as this is her film and Theron does the part beyond justice. Hardy is solid, but passive(with intent) as outlined above.
Jenny Beavan's costume design is an epic achievement and there's simply too many to list for set design, art direction, and effects but I feel the need to mention all of them because it's a milestone.
This film is an experience. It's something that picks you up and doesn't let you go for 2 plus hours. It's got guns, cars, blades, and blood. But, most importantly, it has love, heart break, and humanity, stripped down to their most vulnerable incarnations.
Available on Amazon, Vudu, & Itunes for streaming rental.