Mad Max Fury Road is as artistic as it is crazy, it’s been hailed as the best action film of the decade and one of the best action films ever made. But Fury Road has also been in the spotlight for it’s overwhelming feminist message while being criticised for it’s lack of Tom Hardy and negative portrayal of men.
Clearly this article would make more sense if you’ve seen the film and there will be spoilers. So if you haven’t seen the film, I would go watch it right now?! Then read our review here. If you’re still here, here’s why Mad Max is a beautiful evolution of the blockbsuter film, showing that big budget non-sensible action films (looking at you Furious 7) can be smart, can be contemporary and can deal with social issues of today.
Now, there’s a lot of women in this film…so? The women aren’t sexualised for male gaze however they are integral to the story and they are badass. As expressed in the movie ‘They are not things.’ I don’t understand why anyone would have a problem with this? It’s amazing to see a film that finally has just as many female characters as male characters, because not one of these female characters apart from the wives HAVE to be female. But they also don’t HAVE to be men. They are their characters first, their gender doesn’t matter. Besides it’s not like they’re actually insulting men in the film is it? You don’t hear Furiosa say ‘We can’t trust him because he’s a man’ or ‘Men are no good, they ruined everything we hate them.’? This is what makes the film and evolution in a way, it just asks the question, does this character have to be a man? No? okay let’s make it a woman then. As a writer, I ask myself this question all the time. I create a character as a male only because I am a male. I ask myself the same question, then if the answer is ‘no’ which it normally is…I change them. The Expendables franchise is a great example of a ridiculous amount of anti-feminism. It’s not like their any female action stars? Sigourney Weaver (Alien), Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider)? Why is it okay for them to have 26 males and only 3 females across an entire trilogy? Just think about that for a second, that’s a lot of testosterone.
I read an article where it said that the film blames the apocolyspe of the modern world on men, that women are represented as great etc. and men as scum. This is not true. Max Rockatansky is a survivor. Nevertheless he rejects going his separate ways to help Furiousa in the final act. Sidenote; Max has never been the focus in any of the Mad Max films, simply a drifter in the story, in The Road Warrior he only had 16 lines. Nux ends up sacrificing his life to save the wives (or what’s left of them) and the main characters. Nux was an emotional and layered character, as said in the film Nux goes to Valhalla (Norse heaven) in what felt like a truly fulfilling death. Is this not a good enough representation of men?
SOUND, CINEMATOGRAPHY, EDITING & STUNTS…
One of the hallmarks of every great film is a great soundtrack, a glaring mishap in Avengers Age of Ultron was it’s lack of a memorable score, what Fury Road’s score does so well is elevate the adrenaline tone of the film. Manifesting a wild atmosphere within the scene and during the stunts. The sound design in the film is also reminiscent of Whiplash or Looper, it’s technical and intricate. Everything from cars to weapons have their own sound and it all adds a little something. This something is what I felt was missing when I watched The Road Warrior aka Mad Max 2. Onto cinematography…Dear Christ creating a beautiful film to look at it is one thing, but when that film is so dynamic like Fury Road, it seems impossible. Ex Machina is an example of how to make cinematography 10/10. However that film is very still, Fury Road is the opposite, the vehicles are fast paced and everything is on the go. So when REAL stunts are happening in wide shots without shaky cam it only makes it even more jaw dropping. Speaking of stunts, 150 stunt men were used in the making of Fury Road, some of them were Olympic athletes. Almost all of the crashes and action sequences were shot in camera, with real vehicles made by the production team. Editing is a frantic delight in this film, it stitches shots and entire sequences seamlessly.
I feel like I’m going on about this but yeah, basically Mad Max Fury Road is a breathtaking example of filmmaking, every department works perfectly with George Miller’s direction to create something astounding. The addition of feminism and wickedly strong female characters like Furiosa only make it that much better, it’ created a new age for action movies, one that relies on less CGI, with well rounded characters, masterful cinematography, pulsating score and lack of the ‘typical’ action hero.
Words by Eddie Michael