(bite size) Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

madmax

Directed by: George Miller
Written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron

Summary: In a post-apocalyptic world Mad Max (Tom Hardy) and Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) are on the run from a tyrannous leader and his battalion of trucks and blood thirsty army. They are fleeing a society in which water and gasoline are highly sought after commodities and women are valued only by their ability to carry a child.

This movie was not made for me. Mad Max: Fury Road just is not my kind of film. I sort of scoffed at it when it came out, and even after several positive reviews I was skeptical that I would find a lot of value in it.

I was completely wrong.

FURY ROADI’ve felt a lot of things while screening this season’s Oscar movies, but something about Mad Max: Fury Road has kept my head spinning. This is a reboot of a thirty year-old franchise is mesmerizing! The production design plays the biggest role in making this movie so captivating. This world that George Miller has built is dark and raw and terrifying, but so consistent that it almost seems like a plausible reality.

maxresdefaultThe cinematography and editing are also beautiful. This is an action film, so there are some endless chase and fight scenes that I felt could have been cut slightly shorter. However, because they are shot and cut in a refreshing way, it still kept my interest. Every frame seems to be stained with some kind of orange, rust-like hue. The costumes, props, and set design all send a clear message: this environment is devoid of life. These strong elements speak for themselves, so there is no need to waste valuable plot time explaining the environment.

mad-maxThere is also a very clear celebration of women that plays a large part in the story arc. Furiosa acts as the liberator of the oppressed women in this society and she and the other women in this film are unapologetically kick ass. Charlize Theron was great, she brought depth to a character that could have been very shallow if it had been played by a lesser actress.

mad-max-fury-road-image-tom-hardy-5Tom Hardy was very good, but Mad Max was not really the “lead” in this film. Furiosa leads the mission, Furiosa is the one who tries to save the day; Max is brought in to their story where he acts as more of a supporting character. He plays the hero and offers vital help to Furiosa and her group of outcasts, but he is never seen as their patriarchal savior.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

When it comes down to it, Mad Max: Fury Road was still an action movie, so there are some problems that I have with some of the dialog and cartoon-ish villains, but this is the best thing that the action genre has produced since The Dark Knight.

Actually, I think it might be better.

Verdict: A-. If you ever get the opportunity to watch this in an actual movie theater, I would recommend it. The visuals are beautiful and, while I still enjoyed them on my TV, I can completely appreciate how a big screen would amplify this film.


Oscar Consideration

Nominations
Best Picture
Best Director
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Production Design
Best Costume Design
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Visual Effects
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing

I can see why so many nominations were thrown at Mad Max. The Revenant is also nominated in many of these categories, so it’s kind of a toss up. I’d love to see Mad Max win for Sound Mixing and Production Design. There’s a strong possibility that this could win Best Editing as well (although I’d prefer if that award went to The Big Short.

Won
Best Film Editing
Best Production Design
Best Costume Design
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing

 

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2 comments

  1. I don’t see how a film which angelize women and demonizes men is in any way ‘feminist’ or ’empowering’. It’s just exploitation.

    It’s good exploitation, because it’s violent and wild and extreme but it’s so easy to make the woman the lead character. It takes no effort. Just flip the switch. What happened to actually writing a personality for your female characters? A deep psychology or unique quirks?

    Like

  2. Good review! I had the same sort of skepticism about this movie going in. It took me 2-3 watches before I was like Oh my god this is a really good movie. Yeah, Tom Hardy isn’t the lead but I laud his minimalist acting. Charlize Theron: biggest Oscar Snub of the year?

    Like

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