By now, most of you have probably heard the buzz around the release of Mad Max: Fury Road.
In truth, I’m not sure I have that much to add to what’s already out there, other than: this is the very thing that we are striving for in our own productions.
- It assumes the audience is smart. There is very little time spent on exposition — of the details of the cult of the War Boys, of how Furiosa lost her arm. You, as audience, are simply plopped into the middle of the world and expected to keep up. Unsurprisingly, it works, and you do, as much as you need to… while allowing for some mystery, some hooks that make you curious and interested in the world and the characters, allowing future paths to explore them — or not.
- It assumes women are capable, fully realized human beings, even when other characters don’t. One of the best parts of the film is that no one ever questions Furiosa’s competence as a warrior. There’s no hint of “she’s good… for a woman.” “For a woman” is not part of the vocabulary. She is not doubted or asked to prove herself. Her abilities are taken as a given. And, even in a world where women are commonly underestimated, the film demonstrates these women being clever enough to use that to their advantage.
- There is a great deal of nuance, but it’s not a sermon, nor is it “about feminism” — it’s just a really great story. As others around the Internet have said: YES. THAT IS THE POINT.
- The creators and talent behind the film were more interested in telling that really great story than in proving anything. Check out this panel from Cannes: not only is Tom Hardy honestly boggled by the idea that he should be bothered by women “taking over a man’s movie,” but George Miller expands on how exactly this “pro-feminist film” came about — he wanted to tell a really compelling story, and the themes arose quite naturally from that.
It’s not “agendas,” it’s honesty. Compelling stories emerge organically from honesty. Honesty comes from embracing that there are many perspectives, many kinds of people, and many stories to be told.
I certainly hope that we see more like Mad Max moving forward.