A couple of weeks ago I wrote that ‘Feminism ruins Mad Max remake‘. A number of commenters suggested that I give the film the benefit of the doubt, and wait and see. Unfortunately, many reviews have since confirmed what I feared. This one, from the Telegraph, can speak for all of them.
A movie that was meant to be glorifying male recklessness and brute force turns out to be a celebration of female strength and resilience. The film’s true hero is not the eponymous Max (the wonderful Tom Hardy), but its female lead, Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron in a daringly unvain, shaven-headed performance that will have her bosses at Dior wondering what the hell happened to their beautiful blonde brand ambassador.
With a gaze containing more steel than her prosthetic arm, Furiosa is helping five slaves, imprisoned by the evil Immortan Joe to bear his children, to flee a desert citadel. Theron spends most of the film behind the wheel of the War Rig – half truck, half belching black dragon – pursued by a posse of testosterone-fuelled crazies. Put it this way, Furiosa would struggle to get her Girl Guide Road Safety badge.
The scene where the five “Wives” emerge from the truck, wearing garments that Victoria’s Secret might find a tad scanty, is standard fare for your typical blockbuster where girls are served up as delectable hors d’oeuvres. But the joke is on the salivating guys as the young women use everything – including a defiantly flaunted pregnant belly – to thwart their pursuers.
Add to that the Vuvulani, a group of weathered matriarchs who ride motorbikes and are handy with a howitzer, and you have a gleeful trashing of the time-honoured template where helpless woman waits to be rescued by brave man.
At a critical moment in the action, Max has just one bullet left to kill the baddie; he pauses, hands the gun to Furiosa and offers his shoulder as a rifle stand. No fuss, no loss of face. The woman is simply the better shot and that’s that. Yes, when Max washes his bloodied face in the only available fluid – mother’s milk – something symbolic is going on, but the film is having far too much fun to pull over and deliver a lecture.
. . .
Mad Max manages to do for the menopause what Lassie did for collie dogs.
There’s more at the link.
Uh-huh. As I said in my earlier article, I’ve seen enough of real dystopia to be in no doubt about what it means in reality – and in that reality, ‘girl power’ isn’t. Period. End of story. Suspension of disbelief is all very well, but when one has to suspend scientific, cultural, historical and practical reality as well . . . no. Just no.