Mad Max: Fury Road is not only the only action movie in the world I'd call a masterpiece, a higher form of art all by its own, a crazed, beautiful ballet of violence and fight for survival but it's easily one of the most gorgeous movies ever made. To pick up a shot, a single shot that is the best in the film basically built out of incredible shots loaded with tons of meaning was not easy. Fury Road has a beautiful story and several wonderful relationships between characters often times encapsulated in the look in their eyes or in the composition of the shot. So I decided to go with the shot that shows so much of the film's most magnificent character - Furiosa, of its story and captures something action movies are not known for - depth and melancholy.
But before I get to talk about the shot I picked, let's appreciate the runner ups.
This is the film that has been in our cinematic lives for merely few months and yet shots like this one:
or this one:
are already there in cinematic history. They are instantly recognizable not just because of the movie's unique look but also because when you see those shots while watching the film, you're just hit with so much power the movie loaded them up with.
Then there are straight up action shots, so astonishing that you are just too impressed to even try to wonder how the hell did they managed to shoot that:
There's Brothers in Arms sequence, my favorite one in the movie which features this amazing moment:
Then there is this moment, and just for this moment Theron should be getting nominated left and right. Her entire performance is astonishing and worthy of hall of fame along with Linda Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver but here, when Furiosa remembers the gesture from home and looks like a little girl, back when she was happy... Ripley and Connor are badass but it's Furiosa who wins when you think of how much emotion was written into this character and how beautiful her heart is.
Then there are these moments:
I'd write about them but I'm in a glass case of emotion right now and about the explode under the sheer power or Max and Furiosa' relationship.
But the shot I picked is this:
It just hit me so hard in the cinema I legit gasped. And normally, if Mad Max :Fury Road wasn't such a great blend of in your face and profound, I'd find the symbolism in that scene - the girls holding the lantern in the darkness, with worried Furiosa in the foreground - a bit much. But I can't because it's just so brilliant and there's nothing cliche or simple about what that shot has to say.
There, through a single visual, we know everything - we see worried Furiosa, seemingly crushing under the burden she took onto herself - not just escaping, but being the one who is the source of hope for these girls she liberated. But Furiosa needn't worry - it's these girls who are on their own a source of hope. The good and courageous who want to be free. Even though they spent their lives in servitude, having their body treated like property, much like Furiosa who was abducted and made into a soldier, these women never relinquished their innocence and goodness and they never let the evil, the corruption and the violence tarnish their souls. They asked Furiosa to help them and Furiosa, who is truly a wonderful action heroine, risks everything to lead them into safety. Even when she is on the verge of death her only heartbreaking words show her innocence in her destination - HOME. Whatever happens, just get them HOME.
It is this amazing amount of heart and qualities so often associated with women that actually makes Furiosa stand out and stand above even those of the most iconic female characters - Theron's Furiosa shows fear - when she does what she intended and changes the course of the Rig. She shows sadness - when Max tells her the girl went under the wheels. And she is not afraid to ask for help when she needs Max to drive the wheel. Even after years of slavery, Furiosa can show trust, hope and forgiveness. And the same goes for the girls she is saving.
And in this shot the hope burns - in the lantern and in Furiosa's eyes. The world was killed, but there are still things out there that makes the good ones go on.