Four times. I have seen it four times now. When I walked out of the theater this past Friday, I could have turned around and walked right back in to see it a fifth time. It is safe to say that not only is Mad Max : Fury Road my favorite film of the year but one of my favorites of all time.
Being a sensitive soul who generally avoids violence and action films, I am an unlikely fan. I have never seen any of the other Mad Max movies. My interest was piqued back in May during the original release when reviews of the movie kept referring to the strong feminist tone of the movie. George Miller, the director, ( btw, not only has he directed the entire Mad Max franchise but also Happy Feet and Babe: Pig in the City. what?!) hired Eve Ensler as a consultant due to her work with violence toward women.
"I have to see Mad Max : Fury Road," I told my husband.
He emphatically replied, "You cannot see that movie." He knows my sensitivities so well and tries to protect me from myself.
With certainty, I firmly said, "I HAVE to see this movie."
That was in May and I saw it three times that month with various family members who were beyond surprised that I love this movie so much. Now, for one week only, Mad Max : Fury Road has come to the I-max theater. Big, BIG screen and unnecessarily so, in 3-d. I returned for the fourth time. I am still captivated. My senses, mind, and heart were all in.
The visual components of this film are astounding. The color palette and tone is gorgeous and completely supports the post-apocalyptic world. Most action films are exhausting for me to watch as the scenes jump around so incredibly much. I didn't experience that at all with this film and wondered what exactly was different. I discovered that George Miller instructed his cinemtographer, John Seale, to keep the main actor centered on the screen so that the viewer's eye did not have to search the screen due to the film's fast editing style. Kudos to Mr. Miller; it really made a difference. The costumes, the landscape, the vehicles - all just stunning.
Can we talk about this soundtrack?! Ah, never mind, there are no words. I'm listening now as I am writing.
I love a movie that makes me think. Though it has been described as merely a two hour long chase scene, Fury Road was rich in story. It is not blatantly spelled out for you. Instead, you have to pay attention and discover the clues that make you ask, "why is that happening?" and "what does that mean?" You must search for the answers yourself.
My reasoning for seeing the movie in the first place was because so many feminist blogs were talking about it. It was called the feminist picture of the year. It complete broke through the stereotypical ways of telling this type of story. It hugely passes the * Bechdel test. At one point, twelve women are are screen at the same time, talking to each other, and not about a man. The movie portrayed feminine power strongly and in the way that it actually can exist. Being a feminist doesn't mean never needing a man. Mad Max is invited to join the fleeing women because he is needed. He recognizes Furiosa's strength and he gives way to her when her skill is greater than his own.
One of the strongest moments for me came toward the beginning. Immortan Joe not only enslaved the women as breeders and milk cows, and the males as his war boys, he also holds the water captive, doling it out only occasionally. On this day, he opens the pipes and the water pours down on a desperate people who have come, containers in hand, to capture the life sustaining fluid. He quickly shuts off the flow and announces, "Do not, my friends, become addicted to water. It will take hold of you and you will resent its absence!"
I gasped loudly, pulled my hand to my heart, and inwardly mourned.
He is telling them to not become addicted to a necessary element, to something that is needed to live. Needing water is not an addiction. It is survival, first. Then if water is abundant, it is thriving.
I could not help but make analogies. Freedom is my need; it is my life sustaining need. I do resent its absence but not because of addiction but because I so desperately need my freedom. Creativity plays the same role. I need it in my life. I need the time and the space and the energy devoted to my creative practice. It is my life. It is my survival.
A few posts ago, I said that I believe in the power of story. That is why I have seen this movie so often. It is a powerful story.
Have you seen it? Did you love it, hate it?
What do you need in your life in the same way we all need water?