In the Movies — Mad Max: Fury Road

Brandon Carpenter '15, Video Crew

After 30 years of absence from the Hollywood scene, the Mad Max franchise returns with perhaps one of the most ground breaking reboots of the post-apoc genre.  George Miller’s latest takes you through a high octane action-survival story and reminds you why things are so dire without getting in the way of the adventure you came to experience.

But first thing’s first.  Mad Max: Fury Road is an R-rated film, for violence, language, suggestive themes, and brief nudity.  That said, the film does something very interesting: it skirts away from the whole damsel-in-distress, last action hero plague that has troubled the genre almost since its inception.  In many other films and media the general consensus is to have a macho, lone wolf warrior, usually on a journey for redemption, who is often dragged down by the responsibilities of an ailing hamlet or hapless sidekick; his poorly concocted plan to defeat the villain goes off without a hitch, expressly because he’s the hero.  One of the key features of this film is the fact that it has no time for that kind of nonsense.  The world is sick, dying, and the only thing stopping the survivors from going to all out war is the fact that no one has the resources and manpower to do so.

Allow me to elaborate; 45 years after the thermonuclear war(s), the world is a radioactive wasteland.  No where is this more pronounced than in Australia; there was nothing there before (coastal cities aside), and there is even more nothing now, along side the radiation and empty stores of water and oil.

“Mad” Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is a former police officer fighting for survival and sanity in a world on fire, but he knows that he has little chance of surviving alone.  Of course, he has even less chance of survival after being captured, brought to an oasis called the Citadel, and used as a living blood donor for the weak Warboy Nux (Nicholas Hoult).

The resources of the Citadel, namely water, are under the control of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), who sends out his Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) to acquire fuel and ammunition on a regular basis.  Furiosa takes off with some very expensive property of Joe’s.  He sends out a party to capture her. Thus begins a full film-length chase for Furiosa, the cargo, her War Rig, and some deep revelations.

This film kept me on the edgeof my seat.  Having not seen any of the previous Mad Max films, I didn’t expect the film to have as rich a narrative as it did.  It makes sense that this film strikes a chord while other films opt to purely desensitize the viewer to any of those concerns, as well as the repercussions of any actions the hero may take.  There are few action films that can achieve this level of narrative depth, and if I had to recommend one, Mad Max: Fury Road would be at the top of the list.