Saturday, 23 May 2015

Quick Film Review, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD 

The Dreamtime of Jeremy Clarkson 

'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.'

Mad Max is basically an extended demolition derby style car chase in a desert world of competing tribes of unhinged car worshippers. it delivers gothic weirdness and spectacle in spades, and, accordingly, its best bits are the most unhinged - flamethrower guitar guy, engine tattoo guy, war granny etc etc. 

It's well paced - they stop driving occasionally, so there's at least some rythmn there, and the world building (always the trickiest part of sci-fi) is awesome. I guess it helps that they can create tribal cultures from scratch in the desert. Though I do wonder if a post apocalyptic world would really be so reliant on petrol. They don't reference our times, there's no Ozymandias moment where they drive through, say, the ruins of the Sydney Opera House - and I think that's a really smart decision.

The characters are suitably larger than life. Max is basically the same as Eastwood's Man with no Name. Actually, I wished Hardy looked a bit more Eastwoody, he looks a bit too like a bouncer IMO. Theron as Furiosa is his equal as action hero, and the story is clunkily feminist, in that it's about nurturing women taking the world back from tyrannical men.  

Looking at it in terms of writing - there's very little dialogue, it relies entirely on visual story telling. The two leads start by trying to kill each other and end up as allies, and that is charted entirely in moments - Max letting Furiosa use his shoulder to steady her rifle, her letting him drive her rig, and so on. Action only works when it also develops character and on that point this film is really worth studying. 


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