The Function of Place in Mad Max 2 by George Miller. One of the great advantages of film as a medium over literary texts like novels and short stories, even live acting in the theatre, is that it can use images to conjure up a whole host of parallel meanings to complement the dialogue and the narrative…
The cinematography of Mad Max 2 makes very little use of interiors but instead invites the audience to a wide open desert space, reminiscent of the blue skies, red sand and rugged canyons that were common in traditional westerns. The characters in their black leather or white canvas clothing move around this desolate space, and the impression that is given is deliberately edgy and harsh. The sun beats down on the settlers’ camp, and the bikers circle like marauding Indians, and all of the humans appear to be in a frontier between civilization and a deadly wilderness. The way the camera approaches the action is very different from the predictable and safe western style, however. Car chases are filmed with the camera low to the ground, and the vehicles approaching at speed and this draws the audience right into the danger. The main character played by Mel Gibson, is a drifter, neither one of the robbers, nor one of the homesteaders with their homely pigs and chickens. This location does not symbolize the pioneers taming the wilderness, but rather the wilderness has the upper hand and the settlers are very much at its mercy. This film uses location to underline the destructiveness of industrialization and the precariousness of human survivors after an apocalyptic war. ...
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