Road To The Oscars – Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

*Contains spoilers*

The Plot
Max (Hardy) is a former member of the Main Force Patrol (the Australian Federal Police depicted in the 1983 Mad Max film). He has been captured by The War Boys, villian Immortan Joe’s army. A universal blood donor, Max is imprisoned and has the blood sucked from him on a daily basis for sick War Boy, Nux (Hoult). Furiosa, Immortan Joe’s top Imperator, is in charge of driving Joe’s War Rig to collect gasoline from Gas Town, but one day begins driving off-route, which raises alarm bells. Joe also realises that his five wives are missing, and calls the War Boys to action, sending them out after Furiosa. Nux joins the chase, with Max strapped to the front of his car to continue supplying him with blood. Nux attempts to destroy the War Rig, believing that death in battle as he serves Immortan Joe means he will be taken to the paradise of Valhalla. However, he battles with Furiosa unsuccessfully and his car is destroyed. Nux returns to Immortan Joe and Max attempts to steal the rig from Furiosa, but is thwarted by both the kill switch and Furiosa herself, so he agrees to accompany Furiosa and the Five Wives as they journey through the desert to the Green Place of Many Mothers, Furisoa’s plan to escape the barren, desolate desert Immortan Joe has created in search of the lush, green land with free-flowing water she remembers from her childhood.

Why it might win Best Picture
This film is a total and utter explosive assault on the senses from start to finish, more than any western or action film I’ve seen. The bright, shiny visuals coupled with audio that crashes and thrashes around is set against a harsh and brutal landscape, with inhabitants that are mangled and broken beyond belief. But it’s also slick. It’s so unbelievably slick and taut once you look past the chrome-laiden rigs careening through the desert, the toothless zombie-like humans, and the violent vengance Furiosa and Immortan Joe are inflicting on each other. The design and cinematography are killer. There’s no other way to describe it – anything gentler would be too prosaic. The costumes are terrifyingly believable, the rigs are thrillingly powerful, and the cast is beautifully ugly in all their post-apocolyptic glory. The stoyline is simple: revenge against a Big Bad to regain freedom and water to keep themselves alive, all the while finding solidarity during battle. The world George Miller has created is stunning and full of life, even if it is life that hovers on the edge of death and violence at every turn. The biggest drawcard for voters are the visuals, and the frenetic, catastrophic energy, which easily surpasses the other nominees by miles, and could mean Miller has the statue in the bag.

Why it might not win Best Picture
As slick as the film is, the minute amount of dialogue could be its major downfall. While the set design, props, costumes, and everything visual are stunning, the script feels so bare bones throughout most of the film. One reviewer noted it feels like watching a really loud silent film, and I tend to agree with that statement. As loud as the warfare is, the dialogue amongst it is so minimal that I feel it was almost too lacking. I think certain aspects of the storyline could be fleshed out, particularly things in Furiosa’s past that are alluded to but not fully discussed. Some might argue that subtle allusion and minimal dialogue lends perfectly itself to the visual and aural assault experienced in every other aspect of the film, but I found it a bit too minimal, and I think others might as well. There’s also the fact that this film isn’t Mad Max’s Fury Road – it’s Furiosa’s. It’s her story through and through, which kind of goes against the title of the film. After last year’s incredibly chatty Best Picture winner, Birdman, I wonder if voters will prefer something that’s overtly dialogue driven rather than visually enthralling.

What do you think Mad Max’s chances are? I’d love to know!

Until next time,

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