Two hours of my life I can never get back. Those are the ones I spent watching “Mad Max: Fury Road.” I never saw the Mel Gibson versions, so I have to rely on my husband’s assurance that those had a plot and not just an excuse to wrap bizarre (and more than a little grotesque) characters and fantastical action sequences around.
The film is dazzling, playing on the striking contrast between powerful femininity and a thoroughly repulsive post-apocalyptic world. Special effects are awe-inspiring. Action is non-stop and flawlessly choreographed. For her part, Charlize Therone is gorgeous—intense—with eyes that express hours of dialogue in their gleaming depths, which is lucky because her actual dialogue is sparse. Even though her cause is noble, by the time we get to her brief but tragic backstory, there are too many miles, too many bodies between us. Even though one of those bodies is a pregnant woman and another her dead baby—cut out of her after a harrowing chase scene that ends with her getting run over by the big baddie, who is also the father of her unborn child—I don’t care about any of them.
I can’t master the necessary suspension of disbelief to get past the fact that this villain wastes gas on a traveling rock band to provide sound track for his car chase! Every time the camera pans to the guy rocking out in chains on the front of a bank of speakers hurtling through the desert, I laugh and think about walking out. But I don’t, because I keep hoping someone in this movie will make me give a sh*t. But in the end, the only character I felt any connection with was the tough-as-nails grandmother archetype carrying around a bag of heirloom seeds. Now there was a hidden treasure, an insight into Self with which none of the other characters were scripted.
My husband and I are in the minority. Though there were a few walk-outs, most critics and movie-goers are raving about the fourth installment in the Mad Max series. When my husband expressed his opinion of the movie to a fellow husband dutifully waiting for his wife outside the ladies bathroom–citing the reasoning that it had no plot–the man looked surprised and said, “Well, they were looking for the green land.”
Yeah…me too. And like Furiosa’s character, after I made the journey to find it was all for nothing, I wanted to scream. Or at least blow something up.