Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
What a wonderful world
Madness. If this were a hokey movie blog that chose to describe movies in a single word, that is the word I would use to describe this one. When you walk into a movie in 2015 and it grabs you by the exhaust pipe and makes you squeal, you say it is madness.
I'm not a world traveller, I'm not a centenarian and I don't drive a cab in New York City. I don't feel or claim to have 'seen it all.' I don't even want to 'see it all.' But in 2015, moviegoers as a breed do have that mentality about them. There is a chip on the shoulder of the undulating masses who put on their jazzy showtime boots and rip a ticket to a flick, shovelling chemical kissed corn fluffs into their mouths on a Friday night. 'Horror? Seen it. Tragedy? Seen it. Comedy? Thriller? Western? Romance? Action? Hell, I've seen plenty of action! I've seen action films you've never even heard about', they might say. And woe to the ever optimistic purveyor of fine action cinema. For he knows not the battle that he is embroiled in is a battle that has already been fought, and lost, before the first frame is even considered. Because the very audience he is so eager to please, with their noses high and their postures erect, have already made their minds up. And who can blame them? For truly they have 'seen it all.'
But they haven't seen this.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a cinematic revelation. And with its fist clenched tight, it will take great pride in walloping your senses with a kaleidoscopic triptych of master crafts: sight, sound and touch. Not touch in the literal sense perhaps. There won't be any oily chrome under your ass or Outback gravel under your feet (unless you have found the coolest theatre in the world). But the film is so full and so thick with ideas and invention, and pulls it off in such grand fashion, that damned if you won't feel grit between your teeth or wind in your hair as a dozen roaring, manslaughtering vehicles cascade in a symphony of chaotic road rage from stage left to stage right and back again. You will certainly feel the effects of the Australian desert in the dryness of your mouth halfway through the film, when you realize that your mouth has been agape for a solid hour.
Because this film, this madness, doesn't ease in. It starts fast and heavy. It starts in bleak conditions and future foreign saturation. It starts this way before you've had time to finish reading that text from your mammy and continues on in this way, with little respite, for two solid hours, until the final battle of petrol and honour commences.
Do we lament the lack of dialogue? We don't. Shakespeare, this is not. Flowery, overly descriptive wordplay curling round itself, fighting for attention, for itself and for its creator (not unlike the words you have before you now) would serve only to get in the way of the reason for the (killing) season. This is evidenced in the few blocks of dialogue we are, frankly, hampered with and their awkward placement within the story and equally awkward delivery by the otherwise capable acting talent on roster.
But how much exposition do you need? It's all right there in front you. Vehicles, war machines, kitty grinders, good guys, bad guys, damsels in distress, blood, guts, guns, cuts, knives, lives, wives, nuns, sluts (except, possibly, for the last two).
Is there a message beneath the motor oil? There is. And depending on who it is you are and what it is you're looking for, it is perhaps an environmental one. Or a sociopolitical one. Or a feminist one. Or a pre-apocalyptic one. Or even a familial one. Enjoy the one you have. It's the only one you've got.
So this, it seems, is something worth seeing. This is for you, moviegoer, you who have seen it all. This is special. And it has a special effect. One beyond the 1,500 some odd special effects shots in the film. Shots which, according to legend, were achieved 90% practically and therefore only 10% digitally (which is astounding when you see them in action). Shots which sported a sea of extras. Extras which sported among their ranks talents as impressive as Olympic athletes and Cirque Du Soleil performers.
No, the special effect of which I speak is that rare beast that, if you're lucky, you can experience once in the bluest of moons on the biggest of screens and in three dimensions if you feel so tickled (though that third dimension isn't necessarily a necessity). We call this effect 'pure cinema.' I call it madness.