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Mad-Max

What's On? 28.04.17

The Mad Max movies were never my kind of dystopia. What is my kind? Probably a 'safe' bureaucratic Byzantium, like Terry Gillian's Brazil or Richard Ayoade's The Double, a world not unlike the totalitarian monoliths of the European past, a concrete land of broken heating or air-con where getting things done requires forms signed in triplicate, within processes that are never explained properly, by people who don't need to care. A world that Kafka writes about in The Trial. A world that seems the only alternative to the one we've got at the moment.

But there are alternatives, of course, at least to dystopia. There's the one where civilization has collapsed after war, a world run by gangs who rule by fear. This too, is believable, in a more horrific way. I guess in my own timid way, I'd rather exist in 1984 than the barren wastelands of Mad Max, where the fear of being beaten or raped or tortured as sport is just the sound of screaming tyres or running footsteps away.

But Mad Max: Fury Road is supposed to be different to the violent norm. This month's edition of Empire magazine rates it as one of the top ten best films of all time, and while Empire sometimes gets things badly wrong, top ten lists are usually pretty consensus-driven. Everyone says this film is amazing. I was far away when this film came out, working in a desert country where cinemas were banned. I am now in Edinburgh and Cameo cinema is showing Fury Road once again. Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy as tough, charismatic leads, and with talk of nuclear war and gap between haves and have-nots growing grotesquely, it might be a future we'll all be inhabiting, one day.
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