Haven't Seen Mad Max: Fury Road Yet? This is Why You Absolutely Should
An eye blinks through the sniper glass, as it carefully takes aim at the bullet farmer. With two rounds left, Max misses and ends up shooting the bullet farmer's Jeep. A hand appears from behind him and rests itself on Max's shoulders, that of Furiosa's (Charlize Theron). They stare at each other for a second, and then Max hands over the sniper to Furiosa, both knowing that there's just one round left and that she's the better shot. Furiosa makes it count as well, as she takes aim and decimates the bullet farmer's eyes.
In that one scene, Mad Max: Fury Road bulldozes decades worth of sexism in action movies. Max knows that Furiosa is a better shot than he is and instead of holding on to his ego of an 'action hero' – he gives her the sniper to make it count. And no one blinks an eye! In an earlier scene, he confesses that in a post-apocalyptic future where war parties are going around the planet claiming what is theirs, including human beings, he has been reduced to a single instinct - to survive. He remains absolutely true to that instinct, even if it means handing over the gun, or the wheel, to someone who is better. Irrespective of whether that person has a vagina.
This latest instalment by George Miller looked like one of those visually stunning movies, which appreciates brawn over brain; however, it is, in fact, the other way round. Miller, who wrote the film for over a decade and a half, makes a very strong case for women in movies and the world. As soon as you begin to dissect the work of this mastermind, do you realise how he manages to deliver what is probably the most inventive action movie I've seen since The Matrix. Don't believe me? Lets take it one at a time.
The film is basically one giant chase sequence, where Furiosa helps smuggle the five wives entrusted with bearing 'sons' for the head of the clan – Immortan Joe. While Joe and his War Boys are hot on their pursuit, Furiosa is helping five women escape the sex slavery of a man who controls his kingdom by hoarding the scarce water and owning as much gasoline and ammunition there is to intimidate the other clans. We also see a scene where the wives are freed with a bolt-cutter slicing through their vest of slavery, the first time in the movie where the viewer sees the wives. Miller chooses to not exploit the sex slaves by leveraging the abuse they go through, rather, with that one bolt-cutting scene he leaves it to the active imagination of the viewer.
The world has all but ended with civilisation trying to hold onto whatever little is left, and even that is controlled by guys like Immortan Joe. Miller never really tells us what caused the planet to reach a situation like this, but he does unveil the answer throughout the film. The emphasis on Joe's body armour, mask, and all those War Boys wanting to die a glorious death, so as to be welcomed at the gates of Valhalla - the reason is right before us: toxic masculinity killed the world. There's really nothing sexy about it.
Refreshingly, the film repeals decades worth of action movie wisdom, which suggest that an action hero can single-handedly take on the world. Sorry sir, not in this one! Max is captured upfront because he is on his own, and he doesn't hesitate in asking for help in a world this barbaric and blood thirsty. The wives are 'extremely pretty' for a reason, and not mere eye candy. They are not 'things' for Immortan Joe to use and throw, and they make sure he gets the message when they leave the writing on the wall, literally.
The film is extremely enjoyable, loud, and rests on the beautiful periphery of bizzare-meets-genius. And yet, the director makes some of the most pertinent points for women in films and the world - don't mess with 'em. I would consider that a job well done, and I take my hat off to you, Mr Miller!