I’m a newcomer to the Mad Max world. I only knew of the franchise because it was Mel Gibson’s breakout role and I had no clue what the backstory was for the fourth segment in the franchise. After doing a little preliminary research on Wikipedia, I had a good feel for what to expect going into the story and I decided to give the film a go as the second Best Picture nom to review. And…..
It’s fucking amazing.
As a kid I loved the Heavy Metal movies. They were one of my favorite things. I even had a subscription to the magazine when I first enrolled at UNM in 2005. This is everything those cartoons could be if they ever made a live action film. I was mesmerized the entire time. Not only is there an abundance of action, there are complex characters, creative editing, and bold visuals that make it hard to remove your eyes from the screen for the duration of the film. It probably won’t win Best Picture (I haven’t seen it seriously in the running anywhere) but it is certainly worthy of being in the consideration.
IMDB’s synopsis of:
A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in postapocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max.
rings fairly true to the point, as Furiosa’s (Charlize Theron) actions serve for the inciting incident that drives the momentum of the plot. But Max’s (Tom Hardy) plays an important role in the film as its his story we begin with and his presence on screen takes an equal role to Furiosa.
The imagery in the film is fascinating. From the crazy warlord that controls the resources of an entire area, supported by craven lunatics willing to please him because of their radical beliefs (coughTrump2016cough), to the modus oprandi of the Wives being “we are not things” (definitely a take on feminism in a landscape that is overtly barren in aesthetic), to the importance of everyone’s reliance on specific forms of energy or goods of service in order to sustain life or the way we live (which is rather overt and not layered in any symbolism), so much commentary can be made from a viewing of the movie. It’s so appropriate for our current landscape its scary.
There’s a plethora of interesting performances in this film. Naturally Hardy and Theron are great. Both actors hone in to what make their characters interesting (for Hardy, the balance between the scars and morality that make Max a dynamic character; and for Theron, the heroic quest of shepherding the wives to a viable promised land) but they are not the only interesting performances in the film. One that stands out to me is Nicholas Hoult’s Lux, a War Boy that eventually disgraces himself in front of Immortan Joe (the warlord played by Hughe Keays-Bynre) and finds himself assisting Hardy, Theron, and the Wives (Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton – each of whom are bold and strong characters of their own).
So, should you go watch this movie? I had to buy it and if gratuitous action isn’t your thing, I’d wait for the rental. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of the buy if you can get past the violence (or enjoy the violence :-]) I’ve watched the film three times since I bought it a week ago and I think it’s something I will find myself coming back to repeatidly. If you love a good dystopian tale of survival filled with creative shooting, dynamic characters, and compelling backstory, this is a flick for you.