Movie: Mad Max: Fury Road
Release Date: 15th of May
Bechdel Test: Pass (with flying colours!)
Set in a post-apocalyptic desert world, where water is scarce and almost everyone is willing to fight to the death for the most basic necessities, two rebels set out on a journey of survival, in search of a new homeland. After freeing ‘The Wives’ of her controlling leader, Immortan Joe, (Hugh Keays-Byrne) the heroic Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) must ensure all of their safety by returning to her childhood homeland, resulting in a fierce, ruthless car chase through the harsh desert storms. With the help of ‘Mad Max,’ (Tom Hardy) a lone survivor who is seeking peace of mind after losing his wife and child, this unlikely team may be able to reach their destination against all odds, and perhaps even restore balance to the chaotic world in which they live.
The Action – If you’re looking for a movie with non-stop car chases and gripping fight scenes from start to finish then Mad Max: Fury Road is the flick for you. Hold on tight, as everything from the use of vividly bright colours, in contrast to the usual dark, bleak background that is seen in many post-apocalyptic films, to the incredible use of music, which slowly builds up the tension, only to cut to deadly silence, makes this movie extremely powerful and enjoyable to watch, as the multiple elements work together to create an explosion of the senses.
The Arcs – While it’s often assumed that ‘Mad Max’ is the lead and driving force of the movie, multiple characters have been given important, and at times quite moving, character arcs, showcasing the writers and director’s ability to create depth in what is otherwise advertised as an action film. This is especially impressive when considering that the film has very little dialogue at all, making each characters’ individual journey and growth a truly remarkable feat. One character in particular that the audience should look out for is Nux, one of Immortan Joe’s ‘war boys,’ whose path veers from the great glory and recognition he craves from his vicious overlord in a truly engaging way.
For the Females
Women taking the lead – Featuring not only amazing female lead in the form of the great Imperator Furiosa, but also an amazing supporting female cast, Mad Max: Fury Road is the feminist post-apocalyptic action film we’ve all been waiting for. Charlize Theron takes the lead as Furiosa, a smart, strong and capable woman with an intriguing past that is hinted at but never quite revealed (I think an origin prequel film is necessary!) Her actions, rescuing Immortan Joe’s wives from captivity, are the catalyst behind the film’s main plot, making her the main protagonist of the movie, while Max is accidentally (and quite literally!) dragged along for the ride. Not only is Furiosa a fierce warrior, fighter and leader, but her dedication to protecting ‘The Wives’ showcases her compassion and kindness, truly depicting a well rounded character of depth. She accepts help when necessary, understanding that working alone makes you vulnerable, especially in the world in which they live, but is also extremely capable of fighting off anyone who threatens her team.
We are not things – Immortan Joe’s wives, while often grouped together and labelled in this way, are all also incredible individual characters, and their roles in the film allow women to be represented in a number of complex and multi-faceted ways. From the Splendid Angharad to Toast the Knowing, as well as Capable, the Dag and Cheedo the Fragile, these characters are kind, competent, brave, intelligent, vulnerable and above all very caring and protective of one another. One hugely strong image that struck me from the film, which is perhaps also commenting on the ownership and policing of women’s bodies in the real world, is when The Wives remove their ironclad chastity belts, claiming “we are not things,” in defiance against Immortan Joe. This image again emphasises the ideal that women are not ‘things’ to be owned, but people in their own rights, who deserve their own place in this bleak, but hope filled, post-apocalytpic world.
Feminst hit – Mad Max: Fury Road has become one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, but it started gaining some negative attention soon after its release date, as a number of members of the Men’s Rights Activists group decided to boycott the film, after claiming it was ‘feminist propaganda’ and a ‘destruction of an American franchise’. Since then, a number of feminist groups, critics and members of the general public, have come to the film’s defence, and rightfully so, claiming the positive representation and presence of female characters in an action film that has been predominantly marketed at men is exactly the kind of progression in equality that we have all been waiting for.
Here are a few great articles from The Mary Sue, Buzzfeed and The Verge if you want to read some more about the Mad Max: Fury Road and the ‘boycott,’ and even though the movie’s been in theatres for over a month (sorry for the delay of the review – laptop issues!) it’s still playing in many locations, so I’d urge you to go and see it while you still can!