Favorite Movies of 2010s: #2
2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road doesn't ease us back into Max Rockatansy's post-apocalyptic world. It throws us into its deep end. A literal road movie, it puts Max in with a female warrior named Imperata Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who is leading a group of woman back to their homeland. They are chased by a grotesque clan leader named Hugh Keays-Byrne across a vast wasteland. It's a 2-hour chase scene and its glorious.
Two elements separate the mayhem of Mad Max: Fury Road from other action pictures First, the practical effects and stunt work along with expert editing create an frenetic energy and pace. The movie swoops us up and drags us along. Our job is to keep up. The stunt choreography is among the finest I've every seen, especially so since there is no CGI. Marauders on motorcycles. Guys jumping onto vehicles via giant vaulting poles. Flames shooting out of everything, including some guy's guitar. There is a poetry and grace to the violence and the action set pieces are among the finest you'll see in any movie.
Second, this is very much a message movie. Director/writer George Miller consulted with Eve Ensler, who wrote The Vagina Monologues, to create the character of Furiosa. One of women she fights off their pursuers while having labor pains. Furiosa has had enough of the failures of the male leadership and seeks a better place. The movie very much sends the message that women holds the hope for our future. This isn't subtle, but nothing in Mad Max: Fury Road is subtle. Part of its greatness is that neither the stunning action or relevant message overwhelm one another.
I loved this movie so much. Just when you think its peaked, it adds another wow moment. Tom Hardy is a welcome presence as Max, but this is Charlize Theron's movie. She owns it. Mad Max: Fury Road came 30 years after the last Mad Max installment, Beyond Thunderdome, but it felt fresher, more original, and more dynamic than any sequel has in a very long time.