Miller’s Masterpiece / Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Charlize Theron

This image appropriately represents how Charlize Theron’s character dominates while Max is pushed to the back.

I think the thing that most amazed me while watching Fury Road last night was how much it restored my faith in movies in general and specifically of this type. As much as I enjoy the Marvel movies, to give one example, there is always a nagging sense that what you are seeing has been through the rigorous filters of studio bean counting and tracking data. But with this new Max I felt like I was transported right to the creative center of  George Miller’s brain. For the length of the film’s running time I never doubted that he made this movie exclusively for himself. Period. This is his plaything and we are just fortunate to be able to have a front row seat.

Buckle up my friends. Fury Road is a 120 minutes of endlessly creative, wholly visceral  cinema. The movie opens with a set piece so dazzling that I thought there’s no way this is the opening of the film; how are they going to top this? And yet the film just kept upping the ante with dogged determination. Miller’s energy and instincts as a director defy his age and is probably causing at least a few up and coming directors to reconsider their career goals.

The film is essentially one long chase through a desert so though seemingly sparse, every shot is bursting with the kind of detail that projects the loving attention that went into the production. Every person, vehicle or thing is visually memorable. It all feels beautifully indigenous to Miller’s crazy version of the post-apocalyptic world.

The story is simple. The performances are appropriately subdued (it should be noted that this film belongs to Charlize Theron). Max himself (Tom Hardy) takes a back seat to the terrific female characters that dominate the film. Everything is in service to Miller’s primary goal: one hell of a ride.  I know it’s crazy to say it’s the best action movie I have ever seen so I won’t.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking it

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