Film: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) (DCP)
Director: George Miller
Writer: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne
Cinematography: John Seale
Editing: Margaret Sixel
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Runtime: 120 mins (2 hrs)
THE DESCRIPTIONS RECORDED BELOW CONTAIN SOME MILD SPOILERS. PLEASE MESSAGE ME PRIVATELY IF YOU WOULD LIKE SOME SPOILER-FREE GUIDANCE.
The very first scene of the film already begins to shake things up. As Max (Hardy) is captured by the War Boys and subsequently attempts escape, the next five minutes are practically defined by its quick edits and flashing lights. There is also a prominent use of shaky cam. These elements occur throughout the entire scene until the appearance of the main title.
About 10-15 minutes later, the chase pursuit scene after Furiosa (Theron) drives off from the Citadel is potentially triggering. There are lots of very quick edits and large flames and explosions, ones that often fill the entire screen. This entire scene lasts about 15 minutes and climaxes at the appearance of a giant electrical sand storm. Once Furiosa and her pursuers drive through this storm cloud, 4-5 minutes of strobe-light style flashing lights and colors ensue. These parts are extremely intense, disorienting, and potentially triggering. During this time, the famous line “What a day; what a lovely day!”, spoken by Hux (Hoult), signals that only about a minute left of the scene. One could also take cues from the music – generally, as action, editing, and lighting intensifies so does the musical score, and vice versa.
During the moment immediately following the chase scene, Max slowly emerges from the sand. He has a quick flashback, during which there is a short series of quick flashing images and sound on the screen. This occurrence only lasts a few seconds.
In fact, throughout the film, there are frequent sudden flashbacks that occur, mainly from Max’s point of view, that are equally as rapid in its succession of images. In every instance, this lasts no longer than 4-5 seconds.
The second half of the film is relatively tamer than the energetic editing that punctuated the first third. One should still keep an eye out for fire, which more often than not signals an explosion about to occur soon. This is especially true during the film’s climax of Max, Furiosa, and the others’ journey back to the Citadel. The same kind of quick editing and flashy fires that appeared in the first chase sequence makes a return here. This scene lasts about 10-15 minutes.
Also worth noting is the movie’s color palette. Almost through its entirety, the visuals and atmosphere are drenched with bright orange and yellow. There are a few nighttime scenes where the environment is drenched in a dark blue, but these are only about two scenes.
Overall consensus: Mad Max: Fury Road is a visually intense film throughout its duration and one that should probably be approached with caution. In particular, watch out for the (numerous) visuals of flames and sudden occurrence of flashbacks which are potentially disorienting. For more sensitive viewers, the appearance of a giant electrical sand cloud early in the film is a huge red flag, as the strobe light effects that occur soon after could be aggravating.