Mad Max (1979) Movie Review
Insanity is the Best Cure For Sanity
Mad Max is a 1979 Australian film by George Miller which stars a very young and inexperienced Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky.
This movie is insane – the story is insane, the characters are insane and the world's gone insane. It's even insane on how little we actually know about what's going on in the world in this movie. What we do know, from watching this movie, is that it takes place in a post-apocalyptic future Australia, where most of the inhabitants have gone insane and the few "sane" people left are trying to uphold the law. Although, for the police to do what they need to, being partially insane in a certain requirement. Max is the best officer in his area, and that is mainly because his sanity isn't far from the crazies that are causing them trouble. But, that isn't what makes him Mad Max.
This may seem like a generic car chase movie at first, but it's more of a tragic family drama. Most of the movie is about Max trying to protect his wife and young child while running from a crazed motorcycle gang. It's a tale of kind and normal people desperately trying to find sanctuary in a very chaotic world. Many viewers will probably watch this movie expecting an action-filled ride about a cop hell-bent on vengeance, but that is only a very small part of the movie.
While I found the story to be interesting, the little information available, and the inexperience of the actors and director, removed the feeling required to leave an emotional impact. This makes the bulk of the movie feel very slow, especially when it is surrounded by fast paced action on either side. Think of this movie like an Oreo Cookie but the cream inside is bland and tasteless.
The action scenes scream low budget. The biggest problem is the camera angles are constantly changing, making it very difficult to follow what's happening at times. The stunts that they are doing are great, but the way they are being shown certainly isn't. This isn't a huge problem at the beginning of the movie, but it makes the ending feel anti-climatic. Instead of this epic attack on insanity, we get quick shots that almost feel random at times. So not to spoil anything, think of a war movie of a man struggling to survive, but at the end he finds his hunters and quickly shoots them all within a few seconds. Although, I notice this problem with other movies from this era, too, so it may have felt perfectly fine for the time. It certainly doesn't age well if was.
All this makes Mad Max a very difficult watch, and a very poor introduction to the series. This movie doesn't really provide much of a story, but give the reason Max Rockatansky has gone mad in the next movies. Is it really needed to be watched to enjoy the entire series? Probably not. I would say the only reason this movie still holds any impact in the world today is because it led up to its sequel.