MAD MAX: story mode

Three thousand years of longing is the latest from George Miller and is the follow up to the hugely well received Mad Max: Fury Road.

It tells the tale of Tilda Swinton, a story scholar, and her unlikely meeting with Idris Elba, the Djinn, a story teller.

This movie embodies the love of stories inherent to fiction filmmaking and it clearly was a labour of live from Miller. The film is introduced as a memory in the shape of a fairy tale reminisced by Swinton. However, the first two acts take the form of flashbacks/stories told mostly from the perspective of Elba whereas the third act is ‘present day’ mostly from Swinton’s perspective. 

For the first two acts I was gripped. The flashback stories are really well written and discuss very well different ideas and views around the situation. The third act however somewhat lost me. The choice that was made that transitioned the film into act three felt out of character and unsolicited. The consequence of this choice then felt very detached from the first two acts. I’m not one to usually use the critique of “it felt like two different films” but I think this definitely suffered from somewhat of an identity crisis.

Undeniably this is an attractive film. A very attractive film. It utilises Miller’s trademark surreal aesthetic to really hammer home the fairy tale vibe and it totally works. Hats off to cinematographer John Seale for a sterling job. This is not to say the movie doesn’t have flaws. Some completely whack CGI pops up in this (looking at you cobwebs). Another visual device that didn’t work for me was the very low depth of field. The backgrounds were always very blurry whenever there was anything near the camera to focus on. I understand that this keeps the film feeling more personal and from the perspective of the characters but for a film with great production design and an attractive colour grade it felt like a waste.

Before I wrap this ramble up I just want to shout out the score. Very well matches to the fairy tale, playful energy without being too dramatic.

Mostly really enjoyed the film but it just didn’t stick the landing.


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