After 7 days of tasting vomit and being unable to consume any food without throwing it up immediately after, I awoke today feeling approx. x1.4 better, thought to myself “mein führer, I can walk!” when I made it to the MRT station alive, grabbed waffles and scrambled eggs for breakfast and bought a ticket to a relatively empty 1.10pm screening of Mad Max: Fury Road.
Now this movie is supposed to be the dark, gritty evil twin brother of Disney’s Tomorrowland. The latter opens with one of the cheesiest lines of the century: “What if there is everything (out there)?” before taking a clear swipe at all the apocalyptic / post-apocalyptic movies set in The Future – a toxic nuclear wasteland whose human inhabitants are always about to meet their inevitable demise. In Tomorrowland, this bleak new world is rejected in favour of one brimming with
elusive dreams, dramatic optimism and misplaced faith.
Mad Max’s opening scene is a direct contrast. We are introduced to a shot of a man looking over vast sandy plains that stretch on endlessly because one, the film wants us to know that there is probably nothing out there, and two, we soon learn that he is the eponymous Max, and he tells us in a correspondingly gruff voiceover that the future is all about survival.
I guess I could talk about everything the film has been praised for: kickass action sequences as promised in the trailer, girl power (think Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” MV), borderline nonsensical madness, but there was also…much more.
Every scene with Max and Furiosa is electric. From the first to the last time the two lock eyes, I kept asking myself what exactly was buried in that? Was it sympathy, offered by individuals trapped “out here” where “everything hurts”? Or gratitude, as Furiosa is spared the costs of her semi-blind idealism by Max’s more practical conception of a “home”? A sense of camaraderie after having been through hell and back together? Or mutual respect of the other as a fellow comrade? Perhaps affection, romantic or otherwise?
Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron share a rare kind of on-screen chemistry where a brief look is exchanged, and it is as intense as it is disarming but just slightly short of being tender, because they play road warriors with little room for over-the-top, typically Hollywood-styled mushy sentiment.
For this reason alone, I consider Mad Max: Fury Road one of the most unromantic romantic films I have watched to date. It seems to say that even in the expansive nothingness of the desert / future, there is always a human connection to be found, but this is also likely a romanticized misreading of the film on my part hahahaha
“The relationship between Max and Furiosa is a thing of beauty, and occupies a category all its own in the history of cinematic pairings.
The dialogue is as sparse as water or greenery in Miller’s ravaged wasteland — but, though we’re never told, we understand that Hardy’s Max isn’t so much mad as hurting. So is Theron’s character, and each offers the other something that will always be too scarce in this world — compassion.”