Alternatives is the tagline feature for other forms of entertainment outside of discussing literature. These posts may encompass television, movies, games, and music with a randomized flavour of the moment approach to each post.
Movies – Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Genre: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Action, Thriller,
Duration: 120 Minutes
Directed By: George Miller
Written By: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
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.
I have not seen the previous franchise films. Truth be told, I was blind to what this film was about even after coming across the trailer a handful of times at the theatre (it literally went over my head).
So how was Mad Max: Fury Road post-mortem? It was okay; a kind of over-the-top okay.
The journey is completely visual with minimal expositive dialogue. This is perhaps the biggest hurdle newcomers will be punched in the face with. Even so, it doesn’t take long to buy into the concept; I just wasn’t expecting a chase-thriller to actually be what it entails. But once you get on-board with this style of storytelling, you come to understand the atmospheric tension in the gritty and provocative world exposed through the film’s stellar production and hyped soundtrack. Some of what happens is pretty ridiculous but given the reigns of the world, it’s a good kind of nonsense (I think?).
Not to forget that the acting is a testament that even without dialogue you can still headline a piercing performance that stings with feels. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to genuinely sympathize with some characters through all the explosions, choking engines, and spray-painted mouths. Serious props to Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, and Nicholas Hoult on their performance.
What begins under the post-apocalyptic umbrella eventually deconstructs to look at the balance of power and objectification of life; boiling down to peer into an issue rooted in redeeming humanity. Fury Road is without a doubt an entry to a lineup of solid action films. But there’s a lot more than that. In each inflection of time throughout the film—the chasing, the explosions, the nuances in eye-movement—is a checkmark towards hope and reaching any destination on your own terms. The narrative openly suffocates viewers with bleak as shit happenings juxtaposed against quirky and otherworldly behaviour that are novel concepts on the first pass but can feel inundating by the third go-around. (No, seriously, that flamethrower guitaring was ridiculous.)
There are points in the film that I honestly didn’t understand; most of which involve Max’s traumatic past. This gap doesn’t necessarily hinder my thematic understanding of the film, but it is something that I purposely ignored as meddling with holes in his past would only break the compelling construct of his character.
The entire experience is visceral and aptly redemptive but the tone at the end was a neat sleight of hand to the drumming necessity of one vision for viewers aboard the war rig. Even if the scales tip the other way—back to a world without Immortan Joe—it has no bearings on whether or not the future you hope for is still one that is inherently good to live in. The stigmatization of gender roles to claim one to be more nurturing and the other destructive is peanuts to the self-actualization of humanity; the pinnacle of emotional intensity lying in the unconditional power of choice. Mad Max: Fury Road is arguably Furiosa’s story where characters [regrettably] find themselves along for the ride. However, the finale spreads that importance to everyone else, Max included, and it is this takeaway that makes this action film particularly resilient.
In the end, personally, it was an okay film; a cult classic I could ride and die with.
p.s. I kind of wish young-adult post-apocalyptic fiction was presented like this. Or maybe there are stories like this and I just haven’t found it yet.