If the George Miller-directed, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is Feminist Indoctrination, then sign me the fuck up. Granted, if that is really the case, then we have to deal with consultant Eve Ensler’s issues with Intersectionality. Not to mention the problematic bits of “The Vagina Monologues”, and the people who think that simply reading or attending readings of such are enough to make them a Good Person For Life. Let’s get real, here: it takes more than consumption to make you a good person. No, you can’t use Andrea Dworkin or bell hooks as a shield from criticism, but neither can you seriously use your consumption of Feminist Porn or your recent marathon of Lena Dunham’s, “Girls” as proof that you have moral fiber. “Good” is not a permanent state, it’s a lifelong process that can only come from acknowledging the bad, especially in oneself. Want to be “radical”? Fine. Want to masturbate to something hot? Also fine. Just know that your dollars do not make you above humanity, and it would be good for you to realize that witnessing, and loving, a work of art like, “Mad Max: Fury Road” does not make you a, “Good Person”. It just makes you a person who loves great cinema, and what you chose to do with that love is up to you.
Edit: For more on the problematic stuff in this movie, see this review by stavvers, aka, “Another Angry Woman”. Spoilers abound, however…as they do in this review.
It is for that reason that I can only describe “Mad Max: Fury Road” as something close to being Gender Egilartarian (though not exactly Body Egilartarian. Again, read stavver’s review for reasons why), not out and out, “Feminist”. Because…well, it’s a fucking diesel-punk world where people have little to no access to water, with miles and miles of sand. You think the Quiverful movement would last a day in this environment? Hell to the fuck no, which is why this movie has badass grannies riding mothercycles who know their way with a sniper rifle and also happen to like growing gardens. You know, “girly” shit alongside “manly” shit, all in one tribe of survivors. No, seriously, that is a thing in this movie.
With that out of the way…actually, that’s the thing about “Mad Max: Fury Road”, even on its own terms, you CAN’T forget about such context. Forget for a moment everything you heard about the making of the movie: here is a movie that is uncompromising in it’s display of violence (and the damage it does to people), indoctrination, death, PTSD, and equality (and the fight for such). Social Justice Warrior bullshit, you say? Gee, I don’t know, it’s only the background stuff that makes, say, every fucking thing dudes have cherished for years. It’s the “secret sauce” that makes many a great movie work. Hell, if this movie is, “Feminist Propaganda”, then that would make Metropolis, one of the oldest Sci-Fi works in cinema, something like Lenin’s party before it became more gender egilatarian. Criticising this movie for having “strong women” when one proports to liking action movies or being a cinephile/movie buff, is like protesting the U.S. tax rate but cheering on the police work in Fergusion.
That is…ALMOST too inappropriate a metaphor, even for me.
Anyway, the action is amazing, you don’t need me to tell you that. Charlize Theron as Imperior Furiosa is a winner in this movie, you also don’t need me to tell you that. But the thing that needs to be addressed? This is a movie not just of brutality, but also of heart. From Nicholas Hoult’s zealot character Nux to Tom Hardy’s Max, these are men of a much more complex making then people realize, people of aspirations, dreams, fears, insecurities. Nux wants glory, Max just wants to survive, but these archetypes are colored by a plot that has them confront the limits of their aspirations. The same can be said for Imperator Furiosa and the sex slaves she tries to save, who aspire for greener pastures but who encounter hardships and loss along the way. Try as hard as villian Immortan Joe (played in a neat turn by Hugh Keays-Byrne) and the rest of the bad guys might to preserve order and keep people in line, the post-apocalypse status quo gives absolutely no fucks. There’s no “merit”, no “should be”, no “paradise”, no “ifs” or even a nice, “but”. There are just humans full of meat and guesses trying to survive (with awesome vehicles/weapons to boot), trying to perserve themselves in a world that breaks them apart one by one.
And in the end, it is by working together that triumph comes, and hope for equality can reign. Make no mistake: “Mad Max: Fury Road” does have an agenda, but it’s an agenda of truth. An agenda of brutality, loss, hope and persistance. It’s just that the movie is so thrilling, so fun, so fucking AWESOME that it can be hard to notice. This is a movie for the, “unwashed masses” and self-professed cinephiles like myself to enjoy in equal measure. This is an action movie for the 21st century.
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