Saturday, May 30, 2015

Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
directed by: George Miller
starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and more

I saw the latest Mad Max film last week. I thought it was a really good movie and I actually think it might be my favorite of all the Mad Max films that I’ve seen. (Beyond the Thunderdome being the only one I haven’t seen.) The easy thing to understand about all of the Mad Max films is that they tend to revolve around the same themes. There’s always gotta be a struggle over gasoline. There’s usually some woman getting raped or people wanting to rape women. And, the villains seem to love S&M. 

For this movie, though Mad Max is essentially the main star, it’s the character Furiosa played by Charlize Theron that has the bigger role, in my opinion. She provides the direction for the movie and Max is there to support her. He doesn’t even reveal his name to the audience until most of the movie has elapsed. We find out early on who she is, though. Her character is one that has been driving one of the big rigs like as an Imperator, leading the war boys in their duties on the roads. She came from a green land and was kidnapped from her home when she was younger to work for Immortan Joe. She decides to rebel against the villainous leader by escaping and helping his many wives to escape captivity, too. There are a lot of women in Joe’s “care” that I think are treated more than poorly. They’re used like objects for mass-producing breast milk or bearing children seemingly non-stop in order to create his little army of war boys. 

The women are escaping to return to Furiosa’s homeland. First they pass through a huge sand storm. They have to pass through rocky cliffs and through misty mud-lands. The scenery and the cinematography for these landscapes were really cool. As for the plot, it was quite interesting to see what would happen after the group arrived at their destination because the movie wasn’t over yet and it seemed there inevitably would have to be more interaction with the villains. It would have been a very different kind of movie if the good guys just kept running from the bad guys but they decide to fight back again. I like the character change for war boy, Nux, too. He starts out as someone who looks like will be a huge thorn in the good guys’ sides but he becomes really helpful.

I like how the nudity in the film was handled. The parts of the women were carefully covered. I cringed when watching that one woman, who was used as bait, slide down a cable. It just looked like it would hurt but at least it wasn’t a rope that would generate more friction that she slid down. The violence and killing were handled similarly. The audience saw as much as they needed to see and it was still effectively shocking, like when Joe gets his face mask ripped off. I was so intrigued when Max took care of the bad guys when their own truck was stuck in the mud. He just vanished into the night only to return after a large explosion and covered in someone else’s blood. That’s one of the interesting things about this movie, the parts that happen “off camera.” The audience is able to use their imagination to fill in the gaps about anything that isn’t directly shown to them.

It was nice to see how strong the brides were throughout the movie. They were living sheltered lives before their escape, yet they didn’t sit around crying and whining in the face of danger. They helped reload guns, count bullets, and shoot at villains. They had a very strong resolve to change their lives which helped move them forward. 

I appreciate how Max didn’t have many lines to say. He's a simple yet deep character. We got a sense of what he was going through by the visions he was haunted with of the people he couldn’t save before. That told enough about his character. He starts and ends the movie in pretty similar situations, alone, with a little bit of character growth in between due to his interactions with Furiosa. He’s a nice point with which to anchor the film. I really liked this movie all around and definitely recommend it. I’d give it 5 stars. The cars and trucks covered in spikes looked so cool, too.

-O. Pelaez

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