Friday, 13 January 2017

Mad Max | Exploitation Cinema | Film Reviews | Year 2

Movie poster for Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) is the fourth instalment of the the Mad Max franchise. Set in a futuristic, post apocalyptic barren desert, where gasoline and water are scarce but essential. The film follows Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) who joins forces with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as they try to flee from the evil clutches of the deadly cult leader, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).

The plot is quite simple and rather straight forward to comprehend but many have seemed confused by just how simple it is. Our ragtag bunch of characters want to go from point A to B. Then when they arrive at point B they decide to go back to point A once again! Simple but effective and it allows for a film entirely based around the chase and constant threat of being caught. Full of major names from Hollywood and Australia, it definitely features a star studded cast. From Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Hugh Keays-Byrne to Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Zoƫ Kravitz, it is sure to please everyone.

You would have thought that the high octane film would revolve around the character Max but instead, throughout the entire film he barely speaks. Of course, he is supposed to be mad (as the title would suggest) but this does seem a little backwards. Instead, the storyline follows our heroine Imperator Furiosa, who takes on such a large role within the film and ultimately steals the spotlight.

Although this film is action packed, it is unfortunately a prime example of ‘Ozploitation’. Ozploitation is a sub-genre of exploitation cinema. An exploitation film tends to ‘exploit’ certain features such as romance, sex, violence, natural disasters, locations and so on. These films are normally produced by lower end production companies as they know that they can cash in on these types of films. The ‘Ozploitation’ term refers to the act of exploiting films set within Australia.

Mad Max feeds on the exploitation of location (Australia) objectifying women, violence and pure un-oppressed high octane, high speed cross country chases. An impure theme but it definitely grabs your attention and forces your eyes to watch every little detail as it unfolds - even if you don't quite understand it.

“Watching Mad Max: Fury Road is the cinematic equivalent of putting your head in the bass-bin at a death-metal concert where everything is turned up to eleventy-stupid.” (1. Mark Kermode, The Guardian. 2015)

Mark is not wrong. Although this film is full of action, it does leave you feeling on edge as you struggle to jump straight into the plot in a world we are not yet used to; it definitely gets your blood pumping. The constant action of this film creates a special aurora and this film - it’s definitely unique. Right from minute one, you begin to hate this ‘Immortant Joe’ and all that he stands for. He rations water and uses it to enhance his status and you begin to hate him that much more as you realise that his ‘treasures’ are women that he has enslaved to be his wives; which he constantly impregnates time and time again in the hope of creating a perfect heir and not a ‘half life’. This leaves viewers in a strange state of mind. One minute, this film is praising the women actors, making the character Furiosa a strong and powerful character and in the next, women are being belittled, objectified and sexualised when the wives are on screen. This two-faced depiction of women is surely one to be discussed and disputed during heated gender political debates for a long time.

“Furiosa is one of the toughest, most resilient action heroes in years, with a metal prosthetic arm that hints at past trauma and a steely gaze that sees more on the way. Like Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in the Alien films, the character is informed by her sex but not defined by it…” (2. Robbie Collin. The Telegraph 2015)

If anything this film is a rather vulgar way to show that religion is deadlier than first meets the eye. Should you be fooled into believing a mad man, you forget something. Religion can blind the followers and it can also start a war. The young half life war boys are misled into believing that their suicidal methods, should they support the ‘greater good’ will guarantee them a spot in the chrome-plated version of Valhalla that Immortant Joe has created. Some of their antics is nigh on idiotic and viewers are left in disbelief that more deaths aren't seen of these disillusioned and slightly suicidal boys.

Overall, this film will leave you reeling. As soon as the credits role, you’ll want more - not that you necessarily understood what you were watching for the past 2 hours. The dark undertones and constantly action packed screen, can leave you wondering if this film was dreamed up by someone with a highly creative yet ADHD riddled mind. Impressive yet just as confusing, one can simply not watch it with others without debating its plot and action for days to come…


  1. Mark Kermode, Observer film critic. 17th May 2015
  2. Robbie Collin, The Telegraph. 20th May 2015 

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