Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Movie Review: What A Lovely Day

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time your heart stopped for a poor stunt person.

Take a Drink: because a character is actually named Immortan Joe.

Take a Drink: whenever a Miller pulls a Chekhov’s Gun on you- everything comes back!

Do a Shot: if it, indeed, was a “lovely day”.

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

Loading...

Movie Review

By: Bill Arceneaux (A Toast) –

“Yeah, but what was the moral?” was the one question I thought about in preparing this review. I overheard it from an audience member after watching Mad Max: Fury Road. We were heading out of the theater when the question was posed to a group of friends. Almost immediately, I recalled this line from Roger Ebert’s review of Cloud Atlas:

“Any explanation of a work of art must be found in it, not taken to it. As a film teacher, I was always being told by students that a film by David Lynch, say, or Werner Herzog, was ‘a retelling of the life of Christ, say, or Moby Dick. My standard reply was: Maybe it’s simply the telling of itself.”

DOES a movie HAVE to have a moral? DOES it HAVE to be about something more than what is presented? Of course not. Like any other work of art, all a movie HAS to “be” is stimulating. In the end, you HAVE to FEEL something. Heck, even nothing is something – sort of. In the case of Fury Road, there is, indeed, a moral and meaning to its tale. It really didn’t have to provide that, but by going above and beyond (thunderdome), mainstream audiences may actually have something they WANT to see that will also make them THINK too.

Or soil their pants. Would that count as taking something to a movie, or finding something within and letting it out?

A Toast

To describe Fury Road as an extended car chase would be easy. To describe it as an old-school filmmaker showing up modern filmmaking would be slightly correct. What is Fury Road, really?

It’s if the trip down the river in Apocalypse Now started from Kurtz’ compound. It’s Hollywood’s reflection in a funhouse mirror with a middle finger held up to it. It’s a musical of action and stunts. It’s a feast for the eyes and a trial for the heart. It is, simply put, all that cinema had, has, and will ever have to offer.

It’s great, basically.

Having only seen parts of The Road Warrior, my knowledge of this series is very limited. However, I assume most people going to see Fury Road will be in the same boat. Not to worry, as the movie will prime you for everything within the first 5 minutes. After that…

image001

This movie might have the best use of spectacle I’ve seen in modern times yet. And the irony is, the images and production as a whole remind me of silent era epics, specifically Abel Gance’s Napoleon. To get shots of a snowball fight, Abel got handheld cameras just to throw at actors, solely to capture the right perspective. He even developed a triptych 3 camera rig, when he felt the finale piece needed a larger palette. Fury Road doesn’t quite invent or reinvent anything, but does shame everyone in remembering that certain tools and approaches can still be utilized, no matter how old.

Very few words are spoken in Fury Road, resulting in much grunting and screaming. I almost wanted title cards to pop up, expressing dialogue like “UGGHHH!” and “SHYNEY CHROOOMMME!”. This de-evolution of man is key to the story, as well as what George Miller might be trying to say. The females – led by Furiosa (Charlize Theron) – are dealing with the insanity brought upon by, and imposed upon, the males. If this movie is a funhouse mirror of Hollywood, then we can expand from there and say that it’s also a comment on the male-controlled industry, and how crazy it is that it’s still that way.

That, I think, should be filed away for a conversation I’d like to have with other Movieboozers on another day. Until then, keep your hands on the wheel.

image003

Verdict

Rich with visuals and subtext, Fury Road is not just a great action film, but also a chapter point in the history of cinema. There is film before Fury Road, and film after. Yeah.

AToast-150x150

About Bill Arceneaux

Independent film critic from New Orleans and member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!