Mad Max: Fury Road

May 17, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Posted in 2015 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ◊ ½

I was struck, from beginning to end, how much this is a film of today. It’s impossible not to compare it to “The Road Warrior,” the Mad Max film that this one seems to be a direct homage to. George Miller, who had written and directed all of the Mad Max films, has taken a long and strange journey over the past 35 years (that lead through the “Babe” and “Happy Feet” movies among other things), before making his way back to the character that launched his career. Along the way, it seems fitting that so influential a film maker has also been influenced by the likes of Tarantino, Rodriguez and even Gilliam, each of whom casts his own shadow over this rebirth. The longest stretch of dialogue we get, we get before we even see the first shot; from there we are off and running. Within a minute or two of starting, the film establishes its break-neck pace and almost never relents for the next 120 minutes. Miller understands why people have come to see this film and it’s not for exposition or even  a plot (which effectively amounts to “let’s run this way for a while and then let’s turn around and run back for a while”). As such, he is clever enough to trim dialogue to virtually nothing. Instead we get a visual feast of phantasmagorical images and beautifully choreographed action. Most modern action film makers should take note of what Miller has done here. Though the battle scenes are fast paced and involve huge groups of people in complex interactions, this film is never blurry and hard to track in the way most CGI films are. The battle choreography is beautiful and the CGI used judiciously enough that it appears seamless. Pair this with the costumes, equipment, makeup and stark scenery, and you have a film that held me rapt the whole time. I did not care who lived or died. I did not care where they were going or why. I cared only that the film presented me with one more interesting, evocative and fun image after another. This was an action film that fully understands why the genre exists at all.

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