Mad Max Fury Road operates on dream logic. Like all movies do, in my opinion, but Fury Road is particularly upfront about this. It does not aim to build a coherent post-apocalyptic world. The reality it portrays is of a different sort, the reality beyond such boring things as rational logic and facts. It's the truth of myths and desires and all this stuff world views are made of. Desert, swamp, eighteen-wheelers, blood, water, supermodels in ethereal white dresses, gangs of youths chrome-spraying their mouths before battle suicide, mother's milk and fire, put together in a way that's more than the sum of its parts. Not to forget the battle guitarist suspended as the figurehead of a truck. It's the landscape of our collective myths, easily recognized on an emotional level.

A parched wasteland of masculine aggression, where life-giving moisture is strictly rationed, as are conventionally pretty fertile women. But the opposite of the desert is not a lush green paradise of gentle femininity, but a wasteland of a different sort. How to reconcile? Where between the extremes is it possible to lead a positive life?


Mad Max is the titular character, but he's not a protagonist really, more a leaf tossed here and there in the winds. He introduces us to the story which has already begun some time ago, Furiosa's story of trying to rescue five beauties from a life of captivity. Luxurious captivity, but even a pretty prison is a prison, especially when you have a dream of a better life in a better place. For all the talk (both admiring and whiny) about Furiosa, she is not the protagonist either. The protagonist, I think, is Nux, one of the brainwashed sickly youths who dream of nothing but getting a dose of faux-fatherly approval before their pitiful deaths. He grows and changes (after some sympathy from a pretty girl, the usual, oh well..) and, hmm, finds meaning and collaborative friendship, a much more satisfying and humane worldview than the rivalry of angry young men. At the end of the movie my emotion towards Nux was 50% motherly tenderness and 50% respect.

Not to diss Furiosa though! She's fierce and righteous. She has her faults, – good character writing – being stuck to a past-looking vision, a refusal to accept that her childhood paradise is gone. And it's no good doggedly riding towards the horizon, hoping for a safe haven to show up. Furiosa's steel-hard determination is not enough to change the world on its own. It needs a drop of Max's cynicism to transform into a very precious substance: realism. Acceptance of facts and working to change them.

It's a lot of emotional and conceptual content for a movie that can be also viewed as  "120 minute long exploding car chase" as it was accurately described at Maxim. But it takes the language of cars and explosions and chases and fights and uses it to say something about … hmm, hard to translate exactly to words, since it's a visual language and I guess the film crew would have written an essay instead of making a movie if it was something that was super easy to express in straightforward English. But anyway, something about gender in today's America, and the haves and the have-nots, and desperate search for a better world and/or a place and group to belong to.

It's quite similar, in structure if not in vocabulary, to Japanese pop idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's music videos, which use the visual language of fashion magazines and girl's manga to say something disturbing but profound about being a young female in Japan. Pressures and pleasures of presenting a certain predetermined image and in general being on display all the time. Eating disorders and culture of compulsive consumption.


What I'd like to know is, is it possible to interpret this symbolism in a few decades, when the topical questions are something else, does the movie end up as untranslatable hieroglyphic message of a lost language…