#92: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

When and how did I watch this?

October 12th, 2016 on a friend’s PLEX account.

Had I seen this film already?

Nope.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

The only real Mad Max knowledge I have comes from Tupac and Dr. Dre’s fantastic music (and somewhat haunting) music video for “California Love”. I loved that song.  It’s possible it taught me nothing about the series of films. I knew at one point Mel Gibson was involved.

What do I know about it now?

Monty Python explained (somewhat briefly) that death is always around the corner, and it’s hilarious.  Mad Max: Fury Road tells us that death is always around the corner, and it’s absolutely terrifying. The opening of the film thrusts us into a desperate environment; our protagonist has already been tortured tremendously and is left to his fate as a living blood donor on a crucifix for some albino-looking crony as they pursue a one-armed lady in a huge war vehicle.  Yes, this is all presented within about five minutes. We don’t know why she’s being chased immediately, but we want her to get away, because wow, this world is awful. The film explains itself along the way: Furiosa is trucking some important cargo — women specifically selected for breeding — away to safety. They’re all looking for a better life away from the misery of this wasteland and Joe’s brutal empire. Joe and his army are chasing her, including Nux, a sick War Boy who is constantly seeking the Emperor’s approval.  When he doesn’t get it, he turns, and the story continues. The visuals and sound are something unprecedented. The film was (obviously) edited intricately to near perfection.  I could go on and on with this aspect. The only speedbump I see is that these people are all nearly immortal — they’re shot, stabbed, and fall out of vehicles, already malnourished and dehydrated, and get up running. Max, namely, is depleted yet seems to come out stronger than anyone else. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t have much of a movie if all of these folks were weak.  We need gods and superheroes to make this work.  But what we see is what we get, and what we see is stunning.

What are some themes in the film?

Revenge, sanctity/preservation of life, destiny/purpose

Did this affect me personally?

I can’t soon forget the bizarre and unexplained spray the War Boys are given in battle. The guys bowing back and forth on the poles was an interesting concept.  And who can overlook the dude shredding on guitar?

Why is this ranked #92?

This was released in 2015 and subsequently received numerous awards for editing and sound.  The proximity to its release bolstered its ratings (it has since dropped to #185 now that the honeymoon is over). George Miller directed it, the same guy who did the other ones. It’s fun to watch, and it must have been something else in theaters.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She did.  It’s definitely a dude movie, but she saw the value in it.

Would I watch it again?

Yeah, but I wouldn’t go out of my way.  It’s a harsh, dark film.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Make sure you have a quality screen and sound system to get the full effect.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Yes.  This isn’t your classic-era plot-driven film nor a profound treatise on some lofty theme. The movie stands out for its ability to put you somewhere else and force you to deal with the landscape and its inhabitants. You almost feel guilty for sipping on a beverage or even not sweating along with them.  And it’s not designed to make you feel bad.  That’s just what the visuals and the barren nature of the scenery are doing to you. It paints an unforgettable picture. Isn’t that what film is for?

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