Mad Max: The Passion and the Fury


I have heard it said that a director should be invisible.  That the film should be unpretentious and allow the story to stand on its own.

That’s idiotic.  What your left with is network tv without style.

What I’m after is a work of art with a signature,  a singular piece that pulses with the passion of a visionary.  The greats all had that going for them.  Kirosawa, Kubrik, Chaplin, Ang Li.  Their films buzz(ed) with the music of their souls and the love of those that work(ed) on their dreams.

George Miller has had an influence on many of the things I’ve loved.  Fallout, Borderlands, I Am Legend, The Book of Eli.  The list goes on and on.  Taking Eastwood’s stranger into the apocalypse, surrounding him with the pandemonium of mutant bandits, and raising the stakes in crazy, frenetic road wars.  Each episode of Max’s saga is its own separate tale, and while the Aussie anti-hero has been absent for almost thirty years, this forth installment is fresh, vibrant, and resplendent.  It seems like George Miller is a new, young filmmaker taking on a retired, dried up creator’s property.  It’s as though he was born again and Fury Road is about finding salvation.

While watching the film, I felt keenly aware of the creativity of the art department,the costumers, make-up artists, special effects teams, stunt coordinators and professionals, and the cinematographer and his crew.  I was keenly aware because they put their hearts and souls into mounting this show about a new and unusual world.  They took the writer’s words and squeezed them for all they were worth, creating a finished product that is at once violent, high-octane, and a singular cinematic masterpiece.

As I walked from the desert wasteland back into the theater, I overheard a woman complian that the “character development never happened.”  And those words, this criticism made me angry.  Still makes me mad.  There is the perfect amount of character development for this kind of film.  No, they don’t lay in the grass and discuss their feelings, history, or hopes at length.  This movie is about a man that will do anything to survive in a hot, dry, desperate world.  It is stylized and does nothing to spoon feed you unnecessary world building facts or hammer headed sentimentality.  It is a world you either enter and can cope with or one you should never enter.

Like a thunderdome.



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