Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

By Sati. Sunday, May 31, 2015 , , , , , , , ,
It's really hard to describe Mad Max: Fury Road. It is first and foremost a film you need to experience. No amount of words and descriptions can really help you understand or prepare you for the film's hellish pace, spellbinding visuals and intensity.

In a world where we are bombarded with run of the mill disaster movies, comic book inspired films that have became repetitive and tedious since the novelty wore off a a while back, forgettable action flicks with interchangeable plots starring the same actors over and over again, mark my words when I tell you - Mad Max: Fury Road is a miracle.
I haven't seen any of the previous Mad Max movies but it doesn't matter - what that movie does is that it takes you in and drops you - mercilessly - right in the center of the events in this bizarre, unique world. We follow Max, a drifter who is captured and used as a blood doner. We also follow Furiosa, the soldier of the film's villain Immortan Joe, who goes rogue. Soon Max and Furiosa join forces and try to survive. And everything is shot in a way that is so dynamic and detailed, you feel like you are aboard the war rig with them

The film is essentially a relentless, impossibly intense chain of action sequences, or a one long car chase if you will - it never really let's go of the tempo, the threat of capture and suspense is always present, even in the quieter, poignant character moments. What is so unique about Mad Max: Fury Road is the balance of the information - there is very little exposition here, George Miller simply shows you things and you have to deal with them. We know just enough to care about the ones being chased and fear the ones chasing them, but there is still enough of unknown to make everyone involved fascinating and enigmatic.
There are no explanations given behind many curious and odd elements - the weird chrome substance sprayed on one's lips, what exactly happened to the world that it became such a wasteland, what happened to Max, what is the reason for weird deformations. But the answers to these questions wouldn't really change anything and given how little we know about the world and the characters we see, the film remains mysterious, fun and unpredictable.

Another thing is that the film is so gripping you cannot take your eyes off the screen and your mind doesn't have the time to go "Hey, where is your arm?" while looking at Furiosa.
But seriously, what's up with the arm?

What I also loved about Fury Road is that it had R rating but it didn't really have that much violence or gory stuff. There was some nudity, some unpleasant implications and few moments of gore but it was tamer than most R rated movies. However, I felt because this film was made with R rated category intent, Miller didn't have to worry about toning anything down. In the effect the film is delightfully out of control and doesn't feel overly calculated like most movies with gore, violence or nudity feel these days, when whilst watching them you can actually sense the director's residual nervousness over what MPAA makes out of this.
The film has very strong feminist element - Furiosa is helping in the escape of the five "wives" of Immortan Joe. They are not damsels in distress, rather damsels in horrible situation who stand up and decide to find a better life. What's fantastic is that these are not some incapable meek creatures but girls who are bursting with anger and their desire to rid themselves of male dominion.

Those wives (played by models Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Courtney Eaton and Abbey Lee, Lenny's daughter Zoƫ Kravitz and Elvis' granddaughter Riley Keough), contrasted with the wasteland of sand, dirt and violence look otherworldly. Though they are supporting characters, they are distinct and we root for each of them. Let it speak volumes that you remember more about the wives than any of the dwarfs in The Hobbit trilogy, in spite of them being on the screen for what was probably an hour instead of 3 excruciatingly long movies.
Because it doesn't matter how long you show a character. When you have a great script, even succinct one and the right actors, you conjure cinematic magic and that is exactly what happened here. Lated into the movie we meet older generation of women who are trying to survive and the interactions between the two groups are just lovely.

At the center of all of this is Furiosa and both the character and the wonderful Charlize Theron are a worthy successor to Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley. Furiosa is tough, brave and fierce but she is also very human. The scene of her falling on the sand in despair is instantly iconic and Theron finally has a part worthy of her talent, for the first time since underrated Young Adult.
Then there is Tom Hardy who is wonderful and he is not given the easiest task - Max truly is mad, plagued by hallucinations from his tragic past. Hardy shows it wonderfully with his expressions and body language, same goes for Max's inner emotions. He is so primal with his movements but there is also wounded, kind heart in there which Hardy shows so well.

Theron and Hardy play off each other so well. They say so much just using their eyes - the scene where they exchange the first glances between each other is great - Max sees someone who is different than others and Furiosa sees a potential ally. Then when they meet again Furiosa treats Max as what he basically is - a wounded animal, trying to survive. She studies him carefully because she knows he can strike at any moment. She is like a tigress, protecting her cubs.
 Max ends up helping Furiosa and the girls - he is not just there because he wants to stay alive, the more he sees of the women's spirit and Furiosa's skills and determination he puts his life in harm's way because he probably feels his is worth less than theirs. He is gradually more and more impressed with these women and in the end gives them everything he has, much like another male character Nux. What's great about the story is that they all work as a team together.

That there is no romance in the movie doesn't feel like calculated decision to make the film different. There are sparks between the main characters and in any other movie there would be a follow up to those sparks, but here, in this world who has the time for this nonsense when you are constantly fighting to survive?
 The film has a lot of lovely symbolism that's actually not in your face and while obvious, it's still disguised as plot elements - take for instance the journey that Furiosa plans - 160 days through the land of salt that was presumably once an ocean. She and the women go that road after the hope is lost and Furiosa finds out that the Green Place, where she was born and she was taking the women, is no more. The journey through salty wasteland is the illustration of the hope lost. But there is still survival instinct so instead of suicide they will go for as long as they can, on their own terms.

The execution is so brilliant you really cannot take your eyes off the screen. The pure action is shown with such artistry and dynamics it's like watching the violent, bloody ballet of people, weapons, cars and fire. It's one of those movies where you genuinely cannot believe someone was able to make it. Shot in sequence, the film is truly a wonder.
 Over 80% of the effects seen in the film are real practical effects, stunts, make-up and sets. CGI was used sparingly mainly to enhance the Namibian landscape, remove stunt rigging and for Charlize Theron's left hand which in the film is a prosthetic arm. The minimal approach definitely shows - everything feels raw and organic.

The visuals in the movie are absolutely breathtaking and the set pieces are genuinely unique. The storm Furiosa drives in, the creepy place with the crows and the ending shots of the movie are truly a thing to witness.
The film looks absolutely gorgeous and is such an explosion of colors - the most memorable shot for me was when Furiosa and Max are driving into the night and everything is blue except for wives in the background, holding a lantern which bathes them in the yellow light.

Then there is the music by Junkie XL's Tom Holkenborg. It adds so much to the movie and it's just fantastic - at times heavy and electronic, at other times lyrical and grand. The track Brothers in Arms, which plays during the chase after the rig leaves the canyon and Furiosa and Max work together for the first time is one of the finest movie tracks in years.

And that's the beauty of the story - the most awe inspiring moment in this scene is not the great music, editing or action - it's the teamwork between the two main characters where they wordlessly and instinctively unite in their fight for freedom.

That is ultimately the heart of the movie and nowadays we don't get many movies with a heart, let alone movies as excellent as this one.

Mad Max: Fury Road
(2015, 120 min)
Plot: 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.
Director: George Miller
Writers: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy
Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult


39 comments:

  1. I already put this film in my WIP list of the best films of the past 15 years. I was just enthralled by it as it gave me what I wanted but also so much more. At the same time, it is a feminist film without the need to be one. I'm pulling for an Oscar nod for Charlize as she is just a full-on badass that stands for something.

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    1. Theron was just fantastic but what would be the most deserved nomination I think is Best Director

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  2. Great review. It was such a wonderful film. It' was the type of movie that makes me happy to go to the movies. This was probably my favorite film this year. I just saw 'San Andreas' which was a mindless action movie. So thankfully I still have a contact high from 'Fury Road.'

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    1. Thank you! I had a trailer for SA before this one and it looked so silly :)

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  3. Fantastic review! The teamwork between Max and Furiosa was one of the highlights of this film. The pacing and intensity of the movie never falters and the visuals were stunning. I wasn't sure if I was going to watch this at first (because I wasn't familiar with the series) but I'm glad I did!

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad too, after I saw the reviews I just went for it and now I doubt I'll see a better movie this year

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  4. I had no interest in seeing this at first, but the reviews are swaying me, and my husband loved it too. I might have to check it out. Excellent review! :)

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    1. You need to see it! It's so good! Definitely worth the hype and hey....it's Hardy :D

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  5. Great review! I absolutely fell in love with the film and it's definitely my best of 2015 so far. Maybe one of the best this decade or millennium (Birdman tops this decade, Children of Men millennium (and all-time) for me). Everything about this film from acting, directing, action sequences, score, characters.....mannn it's been sooo long since a film I watched in cinema blew my socks off this much. Can't help but fanboy over a film this much

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    1. Thank you! For me it's the best since The Artist, which I really loved. This one was so amazingly intense and well done, it would be awesome if it actually won some prestigious awards

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    2. Knowing how outdated the Academy people are, I wouldn't be surprised if it was overshadowed for the big ones. And that's really baffling considering Avatar was in the race for BP and won it for Golden Globes and somehow Nightcrawler and Gone Girl were snubbed as hell *vomits out stomach*.

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    3. Avatar winning that BP Globe is one of the worst things that has ever happened

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  6. Damn I want to watch this film so bad! Great review as usual :)

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    1. Thank you! I hope you get to see it in the cinema!

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  7. Brothers in Arms is indeed a brilliant track from the soundtrack. Yes, it was odd there was no explanation for the weird chrome substance sprayed on the lips. Quite a few aspects are left open to interpretation (or open for a sequel to explore)

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    1. I really hope the sequel is gonna be good. It's such a fascinating universe to explore

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  8. This sounds fucking incredible! MY GOD I HATE THAT I HAVEN'T SEEN THIS YET! I'm so glad that this gave Theron an unforgettable role. Sounds like she tears it up too!

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    1. You've gotta see this. I mean seriously go see it! Theron is fantastic!

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  9. Wow, this sounds amazing. I hope I get a chance to see it while it's in theaters.

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    1. It's definitely worth seeing on the big screen!

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  10. This movie has so many little things that make me smile, the symbolism that is hidden behind every little thing and the fact that pretty much everything we see on screen was built and actually worked. I read an interview where it stated that Miller expected everything to actually work, so the guitar is literally something that works, fire and all! That is something really amazing for a time were CGI can do pretty much everything, because no matter how great the damn computer can make a car or an explosion look, the real thing is ten times better.

    Also, with you on the Hardy love.. and the fact that he has been extremely supportive of the female aspect of the movie unlike some men who are pigs.

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  11. Yeah there are things left unexplained, like that silver spray & Furiosa's arm, but even despite that the film still manages to be emotionally engaging on top of being spectacularly fun! That's quite a feat and I can see why people love it as much as they do.

    "That there is no romance in the movie doesn't feel like calculated decision to make the film different." Yes, great point. I just think it'd feel forced if they had done that w/ Furiosa & Max, but I love what they did w/ Nicholas Hoult's character. That's sweet.

    I'll be seeing this again on a bigger screen and hopefully w/ Dolby Atmos!

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    1. I kinda judge Furiosa for not jumping on Max, though :D

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  12. I read your first two paragraphs and then stopped. I will read the rest once I've made my own trip done Fury Road (later this week, in 3D)

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    1. Oh awesome! I wonder how 3D is, I didn't go to see it in that format because I'm not a big fan of 3D being added in post production and not shot that way from the start

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  13. Can't wait to rewacht this movie, it was epic!

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    1. Me too! I think its intensity will hold on rewatches too

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  14. I completely love this review because I, too, love this movie. I suggest giving this a read http://www.hitfix.com/harpy/7-ways-mad-max-fury-road-sublimely-subverts-movie-sexism for it definitely made me love Fury Road more, which I didn't think was possible.

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  15. Great post, Sati! You're right to say this film is a miracle, especially in a year of somewhat dull movies. I watched the first Mad Max prior to viewing Fury Road and writing my piece on this...save your time...you're not missing anything. Miller has come very far, and his Fury Road is a masterpiece.

    AMAZING header for this post...your visuals are always stunning :)

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    1. Thank you! Really? Oh Good because I have so little time to see films...but I hope I'll manage to see first three one day

      Thank you so much!

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  16. Hey long time no see - I apologize for not visiting for so long! Well what a movie to start with anew - I loved Mad Max and was absolutely stunned for the duration of it. What's funny is that while everyone was raving about the trailers, I never even saw them because both the plot and the stills didn't catch my interest at all. How wrong I was!

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    1. Hey! I was really interested until about a week before I saw it, but I'm so glad I decided to go. What a brilliant film

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  17. Yes to all of this.

    Just a brilliant ride and arguably the most visually striking film in years (at least as action movies go).

    We are totally on the same page, here. I'm so glad I ended up seeing it!

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    1. I'm so glad too! This one really deserved to be seen on the big screen

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  18. Excellent review! I completely agree! It's so brilliant and so well-executed. I give this an A+. Last year I only gave 4 films that rating, so this has a great chance of at least making my top 5, if not being my favorite film of 2015. :D

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    1. Thank you! I gave 2x10 last year - Gone Girl and Birdman and this is the first one in 2015 but I have a feeling 2015 will have more 10s, so many great films waiting to hit us hard :)

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  19. It is amazing that a movie so fueled by action can have such a broad appeal. But that is exactly the case with Mad Max and it thrills me to see that. I love the movie and I cant wait to check it out again.

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