Right At The Tipping Point: Mad Max

George Miller has established a desolate world for Mad Max, my experience of Fury Road have demonstrated a sense of madness a chaos in a world no longer ruled by formal governments and human fundamentals have become restrained to the masses to maintain a sense of control over them. Miller’s first entry into what have now become a franchise displays a world far more familiar and comforting, where palettes of green and blue still shape the general landscape; Miller’s sense of disintegration comes in the social structure of its world, where the medians of society have now become victims, scarce in numbers, left with a society entirely divided by two strata — heroes and villains.

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The road has now become their open playground and their vehicles have now more or less become their most important weapon, danger constantly lurks as theft and murder still exist and the enforcers of the law have been forced to adapt to the harsher conditions, a system no longer governed by calculated imprisonment, but instead of immediate interventions, applied by appointed members of the Hall of Justice — of which one of them would be our protagonist, Max — unrestricted by tight moral boundaries, motivated by the simple of goal of stopping such madness.

Max express at one point in the film, that his prolonging presence of the desolate road has close to pushed him on edge, witnessing the horrors of gang fuelled society, unjustified murders and injuries, where the concept of prevention is no longer an attainable goal. His boss pleads for reconsideration, instead taking a sabbatical that would relief him of his personal burnout. Unfortunately Miller’s world is unmerciful, through great circumstance, he and his family become tangled with the same lethal gang that has caused destruction to the stretched and winding roads, for reasons that seems unwilling to be validated, a danger that persistently follows despite their attempts of distance.

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It all becomes a tale of personal vengeance, a point of no return for the protagonist, truly living up to its title; no longer is he an upstanding figure of the law, his intentions have become sadistic and compelled with rage, eliminating these gang members one by one through patient stalk and gripping speed. Miller demonstrates a development that seems inevitable from such a world, where the concept of sanity and moral stability of the past could no longer be upheld if true results are to be achieved; through our eyes Max is fallen idol, now a vengeful wanderer, to the eyes of his world, he is viewed as the necessary hero that may possibly instil its society a sense of peace and justice.

It is highly unfortunate that Miller adapts his screenplay with an amateurish touch, a desperate flourish for the melodramatics and directs with a disjointed flow, swelling its emotional core to a point of bluntness that its character developments and emotional pitfalls are far from earned. Miller aims to sway the audience, wanting their sympathy to justify the actions of its protagonist by its third act, doubtful of Mel Gibson’s sole ability to sell the arc of the character, leaving the audience with a result that is less than satisfying.

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Such shortcomings are so disappointing since Miller have already established such a contemplative world and is motivated by a tale that is fundamentally dramatic and ultimately satisfying, all he needed was to construct and allow its natural forces to engage its audience, rather than over-emphasising trivial elements that the audience can easily decipher on their own.

Despite it being his debut film, Miller demonstrate his inner need to experiment, tackling fast motion photography that simulated a sense of speed to the movement of his subjects — which in this case would be the driven vehicles — it is an approach that may seem goofy upon viewing, but as a collective view, it seems necessary to the aesthetic of his world, it becomes a defining brand that by its end becomes less jarring to the eyes.

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As a standalone feature, it pulsates but lacks the resonance that would allow it to be a defining classic; as an introductory piece for a franchise, Mad Max is a critical piece that penetrates the human essence of such a character, the simple inspirations that drive George Miller, and how such a stripped and lifeless environment — during which here still resides itself as a middle point for its eventual tipping — would turn towards such horrific decay.

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