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Narrative: Mad Max Fury Road (2015), Maddie Maxxie 21/11/2016

Figure 1: 'Mad Max Fury Road' (2015) Poster
This film review will focus on the film 'Mad Max Fury Road' (2015), the story is set in a world where everything has been wiped out, humanity has had to restart with no laws, no rules and nothing to stop anyone doing whatever they want. The story follows a man known as Mad Max, who is captured by the group 'The War Boys'. When he escapes he can see there is an issue with no easy way around except straight through the middle, he must then hit this challenge to liberate the people of the badlands, giving everyone freedom.

The Film was released in 2015, was directed by George Miller and produced by Doug Mitchell. the cinematography was done by John Seale and the soundtrack for the film was created by Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg).

So it's time once again to do an 'Actual' film review, feels like forever since the blog last did an official 'Critique' of a film so expect the juicy goodness of a film review here with a twist. There is a topic for this film review which will be the way the film is presented, what its made for and did it achieve its ultimate goal.

What is Exploitation Cinema?

Exploitation cinema is a film which is made to be successful financially, a money maker film. Usually, exploitation films take topics or trends of that time and exploit them, making the film more popular and more likely to make a profit. Mad Max expands on a couple factors, one of which it being that its action film which is an immediate draw to the film but the second being is that it's a continuation of an existing franchise. It's well known that film has come a long way in the past couple years, and with the advances in movie quality, VFX, and acting film is a lot different to how it was in the 1980's. Without the technological limitations of an older age and the standard of most action films in the modern age we all get to see what mad max can be in its fullest potential, that being the second exploitation.

Figure 2: Mad Max
So the first topic is about how good is the film and its purpose. the first thing that needs to be understood about this film is that the film is made to entertain rather than captivate its audience. Some examples of this include Harry Potter (2001-2011), which focuses on its visuals and it narrative, 'Twelve Angry Men' (1957) only focuses on its narrative whilst Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) mainly focuses on its visual.The film whilst being an amazing watch with some superb stunts, action, and VFX, the film lacks any real story, but this isn't due to incompetence from the writers but is the way the film was intended to be seen. 

There is still a basic plot for the film in order to create some sort of believable story, that story being: 

Max gets caught, Max escapes, Max teams up with some women, Max Runs away, Max comes back to Citadel. 

That's the plot in a nutshell.

Where Mad Max succeeds most is how it has been created, every single little detail in the film has been taken into account, from prop's, vehicles and some of the characters really ties together well, the film is consistent and delivers what you expect. The whole idea of the film is to make money, be a stereotypical Micheal Bay film with explosions and action going off right, left and center. The film is also easy to understand, at no point in the film are you either confused or annoyed at what's going on. You wouldn't need  to fully understand the plot to fully enjoy it, and it's been made that way on purpose.

You don't need an introduction, you don't need to be prepared, all you need is some free time and a couple seconds to watch the film from any point and you can enjoy it. "From its very first scenes, “Fury Road” vibrates with the energy of a veteran filmmaker working at the top of his game, pushing us forward without the cheap special effects or paper-thin characters that have so often defined the modern summer blockbuster. Miller hasn’t just returned with a new installment in a money-making franchise. The man who re-wrote the rules of the post-apocalyptic action genre has returned to show a generation of filmmakers how they’ve been stumbling in their attempts to follow in his footsteps." (R Tallerico. 2015)

Figure 3: Mad Max & Imperator Furiosa
Now this film is also a very good example of how messages can be conveyed through design rather than through story, and the symbolism in the film is also super well done when looked into further detail. Some examples of this include Max's 'Dog Mask' and Immortan Joe's battle armor, but by far the most significant in the whole film is Imperator using Max as the gun rest. The film may not have a real emotional plot but that doesn't mean it cannot have loveable and memorable characters, as well as a ton of symbolism, meaning, and depth to the film

Let's start with Max's Mask and Joe's armor as they both seem to have a certain trait to them, Max's mask is almost like some sort of dog collar, representing control over the individual who wears it. Now because of the how Max's face mask is presented its almost as if he is some sort of prisoner, whilst he may be a 'literal' prisoner of the war boys the mask can symbolize something bound, limited or tamed. When Max is in captivity he is a prisoner, bound to his full potential. When he breaks free he is unbound and unchallenged, showing Max that in order to become stronger to survive he must tame insanity and willpower in order to break from a constant loop that has been set up for him.

On the other hand, we have Immortan Joe, a madman with power, charismatic leadership, and intelligent manipulation. Right at the very start of the film we see Joe being worshiped with white sand, right after his worship, he is fitted with what appears to be battle armor. For most of the film he is seen as a god among his people, an icon worshiped by many, so when this god 'Dies' it is a literal way of saying that he is not a god among men.

We see at the very start of the film that Joe is just a man, a crazy man but still a man, the armor merely hides his mortality. His mask plays a good role in the intimidation face for Joe's character, almost separating Joe from every single character in the film, making him appear more alien compared to most characters, that why he is so distinctive in the film and how his idea of being a god is gotten across to the viewer.

Figure 4: Guitar Guy
The most important character in the film by a long way is Imperator Furiosa and what she represents as a female lead. In the past few years woman have become a much stronger kind of character, turning from 'Damsel in Distress's' into women who can hold their own against men. Now in the design and meaning of this character is interesting because Imperator has two things working against her as a character, the first being is that is a female which for this day and age is nowhere near as crippling of a disadvantage as before, but the other being that she has only one arm, she is crippled.

Now it's not the disadvantages on their own which make them crippling, it's that they both act in unison, so you have a female lead in a film with only one arm, already male advantages can be seen in the film, especially when you see how female have been shown in the film.

The females in the film are portrayed as either useless or breeding farms, showing how Joe has monopolized his own system where it favors him. So already we have so many things working against the women, and as if that is not enough there is also the group of old women near the end of the film. Now at the same time, it shows how badass these old women are (And you end up cheering for them) it still represents how long it has taken these women to adapt and begin to take back their own control, and by the time they try too they are too old anyway.

Imperator Furiosa, however, despite everything she has been pitted against her still can not only hold her own against anyone, she can make morally good decisions and be the strongest character in the film and sets an example for a lot of females today.

"What’s really fascinating is how casually Fury Road throws this in, and how willingly it abandons some of pulp’s most pervasive gender tropes. The film’s entire plot is about five beautiful young women escaping sexual servitude, but it’s a film during which sexual peril virtually never comes up — and when it does, it’s instantly subverted. Female characters are shot, stabbed, and run over just like male ones, but they’re never singled out by leering villains or treated like prizes. And while women might be property under Immortan Joe’s patriarchy, men are disposable, and just as tightly controlled." (A Robertson. 2015)

Figure 5: Imperator Furiosa

At one point in the film, the crew is trying to hold off their opposition and move their armored truck whilst it is stuck. Max attempts to take out the opposition but fails to do so, however, when Imperator decides to take the shot she takes the rifle off of Max, uses him as a rest for the snipe and tells him "Don't breath", giving him a direct order. this single act shows how the woman has become equals to men in films, in this case, she is superior to Max which is a brilliant role reversal of what were used to seeing in an action film, instead of the bulky man doing all of the action its Imeriosa doing all of the heavy liftings.

Overall this film is a great example of exploitation in cinema done right, the film not only gives you what you expect of a film within exploitation cinema but has serious depth to it as well. The exploitation in the film is the amount of action and the design of the film, at no point does the film feels 'out of place'. It all feel's natural and with the message it tries to deliver it doesn't take over the whole film, rather it nicely sits in the background waiting to be discovered to anyone who might try to look at this film's deeper meaning.

Mad Max Fury Road (2015) is an exploitation film done right, with the right amount of action, content, and depth to make this film a seriously amazing film. "Mad Max: Fury Roadkicked my ass hard. It'll kick yours. So get prepped for a new action classic. You won't know what hit you." (P Travers. 2015)


Figure 1: Robertson, A. (2015) Mad max: Fury road review. 
(Accessed on 21 November 2016)

Figure 2: Tallerico, B. (2015) ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’.
(Accessed on 21 November 2016)

Figure 3:  Travers, P. (2015) ‘“Mad max: Fury road” movie review’.
(Accessed on 21 November 2016)

Image Bibliography

Figure 1:
'Mad Max Fury Road' (2015) Poster

Figure 2: 
Mad Max

Figure 3:
Imperator Furiosa