Mad Max: Fury Road is currently playing in theaters
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – Rated R
“In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.”
Well I suppose it is time to write about Mad Max: Fury Road. I saw this on opening weekend but put off writing about it because I read two near-perfect reviews of it (one on themarysue, one somewhere else) that already said what I wanted to say. Then all of a sudden it was everywhere that Fury Road was a feminist movie (somewhat ironic when you consider that noted misogynist Mel Gibson was the star of the original series).
I really enjoyed that Fury Road used one of my favorite plot devices, a story where the protagonist is not the hero. Here he isn’t even the main character. My other favorite plot device is the unreliable narrator but I digress. Max (Tom Hardy) has very little dialogue and most of that is used up in an initial voiceover to set our stage.
Fury Road goes quite a bit further than the Bechdel test. The women have almost all of the dialogue in the movie and the majority of the time they are speaking to each other. Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is our actual hero though the women she is escorting to safety and freedom are heroes as well, with wonderful individual personalities.
The wives of Immortan Joe, our main villain, are all clearly victims of sexual abuse and slavery yet there are no rape or sexual assault scenes in the movie. This movie is how you handle this topic if it needs to be handled – I’m looking at you Game of Thrones. Immortan Joe is actually played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played the villainous Toecutter in the original Mad Max.
The stunts are jaw-dropping. I came out of the movie wondering how many people died making it. I then realized that I didn’t actually want that question answered. There is still quite a bit of supplemental CGI, especially the incredible sandstorm sequence, but the CGI supports the action and doesn’t detract from it.
I also appreciate that creator/writer/director George Miller did not compromise his vision. In a vast sea of carefully neutered PG-13 movies, Fury Road’s R-rating is a welcome sight. Yes, he probably could have trimmed each individual scene of violence down enough to get the coveted PG-13 rating but the vision of the film came before the compromise of the rating.
Fury Road does feature Miller’s fascination with grotesqueries so that may be a bit offputting for some. The prevalent violence and R-rating will deter others. The plot is also very simplistic, just a thin tissue to keep our characters on the move.
Fury Road is a very violent, feminist action movie where the chase scene lasts the entire two hours and I find nothing wrong with that.