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21 May

ARTICLE: Mad Max, Or Shall We Say Mad Maxine (Movie Review)

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Its going to have to take a stellar movie and I mean world-class hype to get me to leave the comfy confines of Joburg and branch off to Pretoria where the Imax cinema is located. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ seemed like the right movie to make that trek.

A smaller party this time with Sindi, Yanos and Ando, but we all know when it comes to company it’s all about quality not quantity. I had no expectations, to be honest I hadn’t seen Yanos in so long it was becoming ridiculous and I just threw this outing at him in a desperate attempt to balance the scales of our friendship. I have to admit when Ando announced to the group that he had spent the last day catching up on the previous installments of Mad Max, Mad Max 2 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome I got a little worried, but I need not have wasted the energy I ultimately was able to understand the movie just fine 🙂

Now I’m not one of those annoying people who insist on talking through movies and asking questions, but I won’t lie I was tempted to turn to Sindi and ask “is this for real?” on more then one occasion. Judging by the grins on my parties faces combined with their over sized 3-D glasses I knew we were all relishing in a combination of a dream and nightmare come to life.

The scene is set in director George Miller’s take on a post apocalyptic world were all that seems to be left is desert and violent desperation. We are introduced to Max Rockatansky played by Tom Hardy as he is being chased down and struggles to set himself free, the audience is immediately confronted with a man who seems to have nothing to lose and everything to gain as he violently tries to shake off his white-washed antagonists, in a situation and world that is striking in both its familiarity and peculiarity.

The plot begins when Furiosa played by Charlize Theron, a driver employed to drive the War Rig that carries precious fuel, decides to go renegade and drive off course much to the bewilderment of her savage escort who thrash and yelp around the desert on board their monster machines seemingly high on spray paint and exaggerated brutal devotion to Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). If Voldemort and the chick from the Exorcist came together to have a love child, Immortan Joe would be born. A wretch of a man diabolically ruling over the survivors of a land where water dubbed ‘aqua cola’ is liquid gold.

Now begins a a cinematographic master piece that makes The Fast and the Furious 7 car chases look like Herbie. According to Anthony Lane writing for the New Yorker, “credit must go, too, to John Seale, the director of photography, who was cajoled out of retirement for this project“. The way Seale frames each shot, the audience continually expands and contracts in a mystical wonderland draped in barbaric recklessness and the ultimate pursuit of happiness. We soon learn that Furiosa is carrying precious Cargo that surpasses that of the fuel when the Wives, five young women who were imprisoned by Immortan Joe and doomed to bear his children emerge from the floor of the fuel truck. Suddenly this movie takes on an unexpected ‘feminist’ twist and Mad Max, though as hunky and delectable as Hardy is becomes the side kick to women on a mission embroiled with such sheer audacity that all men or should I say male creatures are violently intoxicated into madness.

Some have criticized that the  silent indifference the audience has with each character as a flaw of the movie but I strongly disagree. Miller burrows from Bertolt Brecht’s mission to isolate the audience in attempt to get them to objectively observe the social commentary being made. Sure when Furiosa drops down on her knees in anguish over the loss of her ‘Green Place‘ my eyes don’t well up but that’s just because there is no time for that, the story must continue and these formidable group of women topped by the biker-golden girls who nicely fulfill a matriarchal role have a job to do. Indeed the story continues, as we all delve back into the belly of the beast and we come to the realisation that Mad Max is there not to save the day but to seal the deal. Men are necessary but not always sufficient when it comes to woman’s quest to equal power and prosperity.

I take my hat off to the entire cast who undoubtedly bought life to Millers vision and shared it. Nicholas Hoult and Zoe Kravitz are the icing on the cake but then Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is the cherry, she daringly puts on a performance that could be described as just short of spectacular. The She-Hero is born and they all didn’t have to say a word…

Banesa Tseki (follow @Banesa_Creative)

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