The Sanity of Gender in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’


We are fifteen minutes into our IMAX session of Mad Max: Fury Road. On the screen I see a car that has taken flight. It rotates slowly, passengers in orbit, all awaiting gravity’s claim. A sandstorm reflects flames that are everywhere, half the scene is fire. I am very still, and can hear only a wall of sound measured in kilowatts.

I am realising that despite pushing nearly every cinematic envelope, the film will not, can not, live up to my expectations. I’ve read too many 140-character reviews, too many variations on “My retinas, they are burning!”. I am still just a guy in a cinema, watching a movie. It will end and I will leave and eat and sleep and go to work tomorrow.

But as soon as this feeling passes, as soon as I internalise its message, the scenes start to occupy my mind, taking their place, expanding the empire of their ambition. The remaining hour and a half just vanishes and I am left with a sense of total fulfilment and no desire to write about the experience at all. But I cannot stop thinking about Imperator Furiosa. She has quickly become her own template, her own model, a new default. I begin to wonder whether I’ve witnessed a moment of significant cultural change where, afterwards, the time before starts to feel just a little bit, well, primitive. Read the rest of this entry »