"Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas." — Albert Einstein
This post is a collection of essays analyzing scenes, themes, dialogue, and scoring of George Miller's 2015 120-minute action packed car chase of a movie, Mad Max: Fury Road. It is truly one of my favorite, raw action movies I've seen in a long time as it knows exactly what it is: an action movie. It delivers in spades what every action enthusiasts craves with some of the wildest practical effects seen to date, it still manages to have tender moments and characters develop through the action rather than just through some corny moments or having explosions for the sake of explosions. If you have not seen it, do what you can to do so, as even if you're not a fan of action movies, Fury Road transcends the category and delivers so much more.
You should also watch it as these essays assume: a) that you know the movie so you don't walk into thousands of words of spoilers, and b) that you are familiar with some of the terminology introduced in the film as well.
To start, let's look at the end.
The ending could be a sort of allusion to the western genre as a whole (after all it is commonly referred to as a “western on wheels”). After having found his name and fulfilling his moral duties to the extent as he feels needed, Max leaves to be his lone ranger just as he started to move onto his next wandering adventure. This sort of functions with how Max blends into the crowd, illustrating how he is just as anyone in that crowd: seeking a purpose, and having now fulfilled that, he walks in the opposite direction from whichever everyone else walks, no longer looking at the Citadel nor Furiosa for hope, but walking away as he has already been given hope by it. This is furthered by the final quote presented by The First History Man at the film’s conclusion: “Where must we go, we who wander this wasteland, in search of our better selves?” This implies that the place to seek to better oneself doesn’t exist, or is unknown at the very least, and it has to do with because one of the central themes of the movie is that redemption is a self-realizing process, not one induced by a place or material object, but rather conducted through places, objects, and or people. They can be mediums, but not the incitation of being redeemed. Nux, having abandoned his technological faith in Immortan Joe, is a key example of the process, as he takes the phrase, “Witness me!,” to be one not of sacrificing himself, but rather as remembrance by asking the wives who he’s befriended to not forget him for the person he was rather than his death for them.
Returning back to Max’s extraneous leaving of the Citadel, having found redemption and reacquainting himself with his past, Max feels no obligation to stay as while the Citadel, the Wives, Furiosa, and Nux were his mediums of redemption, they weren’t a part of what he was redeeming: his quest was purely for himself and his past, ideas and memories unassociated with the movie’s setting, it’s the parallels that he inevitably sees in the other characters that draws him to help. Contrasted to the other characters’, such as aforementioned Nux, while they do have their own redemption arcs, they tie in directly to the immediate setting which gives them motive beyond personal reason to stay; they’re not only redeeming themselves, but the land itself (note that these should be treated as separate actions; intertwined as they are, Nux, Furiosa, and the Wives, redeeming the Citadel is more of a byproduct of their personal growth that was conducted through their reclaiming of the stronghold). While Max and the rest of the cast are all given hope from the present and their actions through the movie, what differentiates them is how they leverage this hope to recontextualize their life: Max feels he has atoned and repented for his guilted past, while the rest have their futures recontextualized, now knowing that they no longer lead a life of forced repression. Their repression wasn’t what likely induced their guilt, but knowing that they had little hope to have a better life at all is likely what made them feel powerless, and guilty they hadn’t attempted to advocate for a more moral society. But, because they never had that opportunity physically and only the thought, there isn’t anything in their previous life that they would be to perceive differently or acknowledge: they did what they could, and they only have the future to look forward to, and we see this time and time again in the intermittent sequences which the cast breaks from the intensity of the chase scenes: Furiosa is seeking to return to her dearly beloved home, the Green Place; the Wives are motivated, almost haunted by the prospect of a haven away from Immortan Joe’s abuse (I phrase the Green Place like this as they have no concrete image of it, and are seeking the concept not necessarily a specific place); Nux is seeking technological salvation, and to make his half-life existence meaningful (similarly, Valhalla is phrased like this, as he’s motivated by the concept, not the place as he’s only ever had it described to him, he’s never seen it); these are all motives that they envision in the future for themselves, not something they are gripping on to from the past. It just so happens that in the narrative, all of these instances of their individual sanctum sanctorum converge on the Citadel over the course of their character growth as they realize that they can only seek comfort in reforming their personas, so while the direct action they take switches from materialistic to impersonal, the motivation remains the same for a prospect of the future. This is why everyone but Max staying is so crucial, as it maintains the consistency of the messaging and the individual character plots we’ve been presented with throughout the course of the movie. This film’s ending is merely a means to help individualize Max’s personal journey from the thematic and character development that underpins the work’s message and structure.
My last thought on the end is that this could potentially hint at how this film wasn’t necessarily completely true, but rather a myth or legend passed on. The idea of there being a first history man implies there are others, too, all who pass on and carry stories such as what is told in Fury Road, similar to how in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, the narrator of the film wasn’t Max at all, but rather a survivor who was helped by him. So perhaps, the ending quote not only explains why Max left, but potentially how everyone interpreted why he left after all they have endured: Max is a legend looking for his next outpost to wander into, to better another untouched aspect of his life we’ve yet to be revealed. Just as old cliché westerns reiterate time and time again of the wandering, lone hero who’s been mythologized and solidified in glorious memory, perhaps Fury Road, intended for Max to represent just that: a memory to inspire. However, this would still help maintain all of the previous messaging aforementioned, as whether he was diegetically existent as the movie presents or just a fable, his story of proposing redemption still maintains the inspirational quality that he is remembered for anyway. It’s only the scope of the amount of people it reaches that changes.
There is definitely a feminist connotation and tone in throughout the film, but feminism is not the complete term based on its etymology. To be concrete from the start, according to Merriam-Webster, the term “feminism” is used to describe “the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes; organizing activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” Even though the first definition is gender neutral, based on the word’s etymology and the more popularly associated second definition, this response will be referring to that definition of feminism throughout this response, and it’s the gender specific terminology is what prevents classifying this film as a feminist one. While it’s perfectly reasonable to say that this film exhibits feminist messaging, it’s more justified to argue that this is a more specific case tailored to our own social context in reality that is being related to the film, rather than the broader, more powerful message at hand. Given our, the audience’s, perspective on our very own society’s development and history with gender inequality, the lead antagonist being male with extremely powerful women protagonist counterparts, these are prime conditions to further a feminist message. The issue is, however, these exact messages function almost equivalently with the genders swapped in the film: if Immortan Joe was a female counterpart, the Wives and other protagonists were primarily male, the film could still be classified as feminist, which may seem contradictory, until acknowledging the innate messaging surrounding not just women, but humanity as a whole. Take the standard woman in Immortan Joe’s world: they’re treated essentially to the extent of a rape victim, being sexually abused solely for their fertility; their reduced to an object of a single purpose to forcibly bring life to Immortan’s subjects and the Citadel (this association of fertility and women is supported by the Vuvalini’s own Keeper of the Seeds who seeks to plant and sprout a new life of the Green Place). So, to have a contrast in extremely powerful women between the nomadic Vuvalini, the Wives, and Furiosa, who end up conquering Immortan Joe in the end coupled with the one of the final shots of the women releasing the “aqua-cola” to the people makes for a very strong feminist message, which in that sense, it is understandable that some critics characterizing this film as feminist. However, it’s hard to ignore the parallels between the male characters’ portrayals throughout the film. Max, even before the title card of the film has played, Max is similarly bound and exploited for his social benefits, which instead of being fertility, is holding a healthy supply of O- universally donatable blood for Immortan’s War Boys, who themselves are exploited in their own ways. War Boys, instead of being exploited for their ability to give life, it’s their ability to take it, and execute Immortan’s visions of destruction. However, more importantly than the roles themselves, is their relation to the characters themselves as these roles even reverse with Furiosa and Max by the end, where Max becomes inducted into the Vuvalini and even heals Furiosa under his own volition to perform a blood transfusion on her, while Furiosa is the one to ultimately kill Immortan Joe at the end. These intermixing of the movie’s established gender roles further blur the lines to say which gender is being empowered more, by essentially neglecting the need for it to exist and categorize the characters at all; what defined women and their exploitation, and hence motive to revolt in an empowered fashion gets reassociated with the opposite gender, making it hard to define it as a distinct trait, and hence more apt to look at it as role-specific retaliations and revolts when it is a part of a greater collective body of both genders. Similar parallels can be found between major sacrifices in the movie: Nux from the, War Boys, sacrifices himself specifically to give the women (implied more than to end Immortan’s soldiers’ lives by his care for Capable) a chance to lead a longer, more fulfilling life, while many of the Vuvalini give their life to end Immortan’s army as they stand diametrically opposed to their own morals of community (see the scene where Max convinces the group to redirect themselves towards attacking the Citadel). There’s a constant defying of expectations to mirror and reverse supposed gender-specific roles within the film to unify the genders as one. So while there is in fact a large component that empowers women, due to the parallels that the men’s stories provide, it’s more accurate to say that this is a movie about empowering humanity as a whole above the tyranny and unethical practices that Immortan Joe embodies (it’s not surprising that Immortan Joe’s name mimics not only the word “immoral” in addition to “immortal”). Even the name of the stronghold the protagonists reclaim, the Citadel, echoes deeply not just the despot they’re overthrowing, but the entire symbol for oppression: it’s not just a fortress dominating people, it is an empire dominating the humanity of the people.
One fact that might augment the message to be a bit more women-centric, though, is the naming of the Wives: Angharad (Welsh name for “much loved one”), The Dag (Australian slang for “funny/amusing”), Toast the Knowing, Cheedo the Fragile, and Capable, each seemingly named after a core value they embody of charismatic/leader-like, comedic, wise, fragile, and confident respectively. With each embodying an extremely distinct human quality, it’s hard not to see how they themselves personify humanity as a group. That combined with their distinct light, (relatively) elegant clothing, the group also clearly is hope incarnate, which can seen most distinctly during the nighttime Green Place car chase scene with the Bullet Farmer, where they are the ones seen to be holding the only lightsource between the crew of the War Rig, contrasting the deep, unsettling emptiness of the exhausted, corrupted Green Place. However, when interpreted like this, it’s worth noting how the other characters perceive the Wives: they are the ultimate prize. Immortan Joe seeks them to bear healthy children, so in a literal sense, the Wives are the ultimate material possession for him. However, Max, Furiosa, Nux, and other aiding protagonists are not drawn to the Wives for their physical traits, but rather because of who they represent; they want to protect the Wives as they are the characteristics of humanity they all seek to restore themselves, which furthers the lack of gender as a needed category of a theme. When perceived as symbols, the Wives exemplify a much greater presence in the film as the “MacGuffin” that everyone seeks to find and protect as a medium to try and redeem some humanity within themselves; the core values they represent ends up being a universally sought after, set of appreciable qualities.
Furiosa was born into the Green Place as the daughter of Mary Jabassa of the tribe Swaddle Dog of the Vuvalini, being taught and trained by her “initiate mother” K.T. Concannon. There, in her matriarchal society, she is taught to value her relationships and who she is in this tribe of mothers. However, she was abducted – stolen – from her home by Immortan Joe to the Citadel along with her mother, who died within 3 days of captivity. Immortan Joe took in Furiosa as one of his new wives, seeking for her to bear his new healthy son. Unable to successfully impregnate her with a possible heir, Immortan Joe had no use for her to serve in his vault as a breeder. Unable to watch a possible “resource” go underutilized, Immortan Joe gave Furiosa to one of his Imperators, a high commanding military officer who takes control of their invaluable War Rigs. Constantly exposed to war and automotive technology, Furiosa became an experienced, and newly indispensable asset from one unable to give life to others, to one able to quickly and efficiently take it. But, only so much experience can provide so much benefit without repercussions: she lost an arm in combat, forcing her to create a prosthetic extension to be able to continue serving. Once her half-life mentor had passed, she replaced his title and claimed Imperator for herself as a leader in Immortan Joe’s ranks, becoming one of his most trusted commanding officers and couriers. Due to his trust and surplus of willing warriors, Immortan Joe assigned Furiosa to watch over his most prized possessions that Furiosa was once almost inducted into: his prized breeders, the Five Wives. Relating to their physical abuse, the Wives were the first people since Furiosa’s capture that she connects with. The abuse and effort she had to commit to, though, took a toll on Furiosa across her 7000 days of imprisonment. On many occasions, she has considered defecting and escaping in search of her once lost Green Place and taking refuge in her family. Holding as much power as she did with her War Rig, she saw an opportunity, a clear one no less, to retrace her path, running from Immortan’s grasp, and find her lost home among the barren deserts of a once fruitful land. She tries to leave, but not alone: Furiosa smuggles the Five Wives with her, knowing they need the Green Place just as much as she does.
The first bit of basic information is given directly through her identity speech upon regrouping with the Vuvalini for the first time. We learn about her compassion and love of her people through her introductory speech to the Vuvalini: she never refers to herself by her name, but rather what that name was associated with, and she does so with very specific tenses. She was once part of Swaddle Dog, but is one of the Vuvalini. Her initiate mother was K.T. Concannon, but she still is the daughter of Mary Jabassa. She talks as if she has outgrown her childhood culture of Swaddle Dog – she had to for the sake of survival – but she still talks as one of the Many Mothers, and as if she still wishes to be associated with and accepted into this group she still cares for (present tense phrases). Seeking reaffirmation, she hopes to show that she is still selfless in the cause of the group and the people within it, because without them, Furiosa’s name means nothing to her. Elucidating on her combat experience, one could only imagine that her inability to bear children is why she was selected to become the inevitable driver of the War Rig, and how she lost her arm. Fury Road, within the first 5 minutes, before the title card, makes sure to establish norms and the social constructs that govern Immortan Joe’s Citadel, and from the very start, women have been boiled down to a single purpose: fertility. Her being assigned under the command of an existing Imperator would connect a lot of the scenes to losing an arm in battle, driving the War Rig in the first place, and how she is able to be so prepared for combat. Take the scene when Max, still muzzled and enchained to Nux, Furiosa is able to take down Max, be more than dominant at close quarters combat with a wrech, disarm Max of his shotgun, pull out a secret handgun on Max, while also preemptively pulling the kill switches on the War Rig as well so that even if Max proved victorious in their small skirmish, he couldn’t steal the resources. Not to mention the amount of firearms Furiosa stashes in the War Rig that Max reveals immediately after their scuffle, and her experience with a sniper rifle to take out the Bullet Farmer later during the night chase. There’s no way in her 20 years she could have advanced nearly as far as she could have without already being valued by a highly ranked member in society, as we by see the number of War Boys forced to conform to that initial ranking and die in battle, or grow only to the extent of the military’s drum corp. It is difficult to connect the Wives and Furiosa, other than the fact that Furiosa was at one point almost inducted into the group of prized breeders. We know Immortan Joe trusted Furiosa immensely for executing his water, bullet, and resource runs that extended beyond the Citadel, holding upwards of 3000 gallons of the prized resource “guzzoline” plus a surplus of water at a time. For how much of the Citadel he constantly monitored, to extend someone beyond his immediate control, and even reallocate some power and influence to someone else speaks immensely of the trust he bestowed unto Furiosa. So, for the fact that she’s a powerful commanding officer, and has a non-insignificant connection to the Wives indicates that is how she got in touch with them, and how she communicated her plan to smuggle them out as well. After she escapes the Citadel, we are now well into the film’s plot, and concludes the biography.
While the above looked at three specific presences within the film, the three below are a series of more opinionated pieces discussing some of my favorite sticking points.
My favorite shot in Mad Max: Fury Road occurs for only a few frames during the Rock Riders chase scene after Furiosa’s exchange with them went south (this shot is one that I don’t think I consciously took in until my 2nd or 3rd viewing of the movie). They are well into the chase at this point with the Rock Rider’s signature bikers attacking the War Rig at all angles: explosives from the side, bikes jumping over the War Rig, armed bikers firing rounds whenever the can, all the meanwhile Immortan Joe in his Dodge Fargo 1940 “BigFoot” monster truck is catching up to them from the rear. In a moment of panic and without weapon, Furiosa lunges into her arsenal and grabs some kind of pistol from the bag, and in a single movement, lines up her shot alongside Max at a Rock Rider angling themselves along the side of their vehicle. This shot is only a few frames in length, but communicates so much about the character development of both Max and Furiosa and the relationship between them. We can actually map out their entire relationship visually from strangers, to foe, to forced allies, to tight-knit friends. You can see that they are strangers when they never share a frame; for the first part of the movie, there is usually a cut, or shift in lens focus to direct the audience’s attention to either Max or Furiosa, neither at the same time. They become foes at their first interaction after the sandstorm, and this is clearly indicated via their exchange of weapons. Furiosa attempts to shoot Max with his own shotgun, and moments later, Max threatens to shoot Furiosa with her own pistol. This helps emphasize the turbulent power dynamic between the two: they are both just as capable, but are perceiving each other as threats, so they continue to try and disarm each other, and inevitably turn one’s own weapon against them. This continues in the following scenes where they become reluctant partners, driving the War Rig together. Since Furiosa is the only one who can drive the War Rig, she seems to be in control of the situation. But, the first thing Max does before the War Rig departs is take and hold hostage every single last gun compartmentalized throughout the vehicle, bringing the power dynamic back into his favor. It’s similar to the back and forth they had as enemies, but now instead of being a constant duel of competitors, it’s now more of a dance of adversaries: they both want to accomplish different goals and have different ideas in mind separate from one another, but are both tense as they both potentially act as a threat to that success if they choose to act on it, almost like mutually assured destruction – one party stops another also forces to stop themselves. This is a change from the previous relationship where they both saw each other as direct impediments that are competing for the same goal, but they now realize that their ideas aren’t mutually exclusive. So, as unlikely companions, Max doesn’t kill Furiosa, but completely disarms her. This tension eventually gets alleviated as the two are both placed in precarious situations, and Max ultimately returns a weapon to her to help defend the crew, visually showing the trust building. Now, the shot I picked as my favorite is where the two are finally visually cued into being equals to one another: capability-wise, trust-wise, and as trusted allies. In those few frames, showing the two both aim at a single target together in the same shot is all it took for this film, with minimal dialogue between the characters, to graphically establish their relationship. I also really like it because of how short it is: it forces us, the audience, to passively take in the shot which helps us to understand the two characters are now strongly bonded without forcing their ever changing connection and feeding it to us directly. These cues allow us to take in a lot of information very quickly, and this is one of the best examples the film offers for how it does so with such a nuanced topic like character interaction.
My favorite line in Mad Max: Fury Road is one of Furiosa’s final lines of the film during the final action sequence in which the protagonists end Immortan Joe’s corrupt rule. As Furiosa forces her way up to the driver’s side window to finally kill Immortan Joe, she delivers a final send off before he lashes out one last scream: “Remember me.” It twists the War Boys fabled motto, “Witness me!”, that they call before attempting a suicide act in an effort to be permitted into Valhalla under Immortan Joe’s servitude by giving their life in noble act of war. This phrase, “Witness me!”, evokes a tone of acknowledgement of the action; a phrase that asks for those who know they have already died to do so. It holds a connotation that what is being seen is merely recognized, but not appreciated, and that’s due in part by what the purpose of “witness” is: it’s an act to better oneself into the salvation of Valhalla, which they celebrate in normalizing their expendability of their current life and to carry on into an uncertain next. Furiosa’s spin on the phrase reverses that tone completely by saying “remember” instead of “witness”, which instead of asking for acknowledgement and self-betterment, is asking for gratitude. While Furiosa isn’t the one who physically dies, and Immortan Joe doesn’t physically survive, it makes sense to view it symbolically as if that was the way the scene was framed. By perceiving as so, it turns the messaging around by asking “Immortal” Joe to live on forever with full knowledge that she is who restored the world with the amount of sacrifices she had to endure; she’s asking not to “die” in vain, but to live in memory of those she has worked so hard to help. While it has the exact same physical outcome that the old, willing sacrifices that were “witnessed” had, it changes the mentality and respect surrounding those who may not have had a choice in their death to truly internalize the impact it had on those who had beared the trauma of the death in question.
This expression also immediately sets the ideology she seeks to replace Immortan Joe’s society with: people aren’t objects to watch be expended, but they are intelligent beings who deserve to forever live by their accomplishments and compassion they have shared for others beyond their self-interest. What makes this specific sentiment especially powerful is that the only memory that Immortan Joe would have to remember Furiosa by is her own exploitation that he leveraged, so by executing him with that memory is an extremely clear indicator that she wants those memories and experiences to die with him so no other person has to suffer through it and pushing her own abuse behind her. It’s Furiosa climactic developmental moment: just as Max gave his name to Furiosa to accept his past, Furiosa buries her past to accept her new future. She wants to have Immortan Joe explicitly know that he was the one who “killed the world” by destroying the very world he has built upon abuse and denigration with ending his life. The final component of this line that makes it so inspiring is coupled with the next important line that Nux so emotionally delivers: “Witness me.” The very phrase that Furiosa has reformed dies gently with Nux, the transitory character that was once a War Boy, now Vuvalini takes the cursed connotation of the phrase “witness” and completely transforms it to accommodate his developed moral enlightenment. Nux, for his whole life, has been told that the world doesn’t care for him, but he cares for the world; the Citadel will continue to run with the powerful machines that they worship, and they are merely the small, insignificant cogs in a social machine. Even though they are aware they are “kamakrazee”, they know that their life has no more meaning than what Immortan Joe provides. But by the end, after all he’s undergone and tolerated, he pours all of his new found emotion Furiosa has modelled throughout their adventure into his delivery, completely dropping his trochaic-accented meter of the War Boys’ chants, remnant of the famous Gregorian chant of death, Dies irae, before burying the last of the phrase along with the remaining scraps of Immortan Joe’s convoy, influence, and power. He knew he would die, and that there was no Valhalla for him to seek, but he hopes that him accepting a willing death for those he loves would be remembered beyond just a glorified suicide to the group, but someone of a friend. That last utterance of “witness” gives the very contrast needed to emphasize the importance of Furiosa’s choice of wording.
“Remember me!” is such a powerful line as it reverses the very sentiment that Immortan Joe terribly exploited back onto him, while also completely rebuilding a new tone and society within just those two words to break down what we, the audience, have been conditioned to hear so frequently that normalized death to respect its consequences and implications beyond a single use case. Furiosa, in just a few syllables, was able to take an entire society, destroy it, rebuild it, and accept her sacrifices for it.
Mad Max: Fury Road contains many broad, strongly supported topics of discussion, one of which includes a central thematic subject that revolves around how redemption is a self-realizing process that cannot be induced forcibly by a person, place, or material object, but can be conducted through one as a medium to enlighten oneself beyond past perception.
Similar to the analysis of the ended above, every major character follows an arc in which their persona is fleshed out such that they are able to newly perceive their life and how they fit into the events that they have been witness to. Continuously, the film, almost forcefully, imposes redemption as a subject matter. The first instance that redemption appears as a focus is within some of Immortan Joe’s first lines: “I am your redeemer! It is by my hand you will rise from the ashes of this world!” Many of his War Boys buy into this false ideology and into the notion that their salvation will be presented as an action that Immortan Joe provides directly to them. Max and Nux learn this first hand: literally being abandoned in the aftermath of a sandstorm, and symbolically “rising from the ashes” that Immortan Joe has incited with his chase of Furiosa. They then go on through their redemption arc (Nux’s arc won’t enter a phase of redemption until further into the film), but this scene helps to recontextualize Immortan Joe’s previous dialogue to fit the theme described. It wasn’t Immortan Joe who presented them with their redemption, but it was he whose hand presented the opportunity to redeem themselves; he was merely the objective that awarded redemption, not salvation himself. Another clear instance of the film’s portrayal of redemption is via Furiosa, with her deeply intimate and revealing conversation with Max, moments before her reunion with the Vuvalini. It’s here where she unveils not only why she’s seeking the Green Place for herself but for the others as well:
“And [the Wives]?” “They’re looking for hope.” “And you?” “...Redemption.”
This distinction is important as it aids in differentiating the purpose of the Green Place between the Wives and Furiosa. The Wives specifically are holding onto seeking something material — something tangible that directly impacts their life to separate them from Immortan Joe’s exploitation. They need that promise to believe in a life worth living. Furiosa, on the other hand, has a much deeper connection to the Green Place. It was her home that she was extracted from, enslaved at the hands of the very force she was trained to avoid: men. Knowing the trauma her people had to endure along with the acts she deeply laments serving Immortan Joe, Furiosa desires to repent and atone for, which she tries to do through helping the Wives and restoring herself to the Vuvalini. In the end, Furiosa does find acceptance and redemption, it doesn’t come without cost: nearly all of the Vuvalini die in her and the Wives’ names, reiterating how there isn’t manifestations of redemption that one can possess or know to enter a new state, but there are certain people and objects that can help guide one through their self-solace, because if that wasn’t true, the ending of Fury Road would have almost no impact; Furiosa’s story wouldn’t have a chance to resolve with the lack of the Vuvalini present, and Max’s leaving would make even less sense, as he is then literally abandoning his redemption, which is his most overarching plot motivator that has guided him through the film.
This is even reiterated in the music scoring for the film. When listening to the track labelled, “Redemption”, which plays during the previously described scene of Furiosa’s personal conversation with Max on their way to the Vuvalini and the Green Place. In it, a certain leitmotif is established along with a very distinct tone. However, in the following scene’s track, “Many Mothers”, it takes the redemption leitmotif that “Redemption” established, but emboldened with a fuller orchestration, connecting the theme to the scene. Similarly, during the blood transfusion scene where Max desperately tries to save Furiosa from dying of blood loss, his associated track, “My Name is Max”, it also contains the same leitmotif, but this time emphasizing rests and silence to allow room for the music to breathe and react to Max’s dialogue, especially his key titular line the track has been named for. If we were to take the connection in musical theme and apply it to the idea that redemption is something that can be contained within a person or group of people, like Max and the Vuvalini — characters who either left or died — then it would only reiterate the aforementioned theory that Fury Road along with many of its characters would remain unresolved, and the conclusion would have no significance nor impact that they movie clearly tried to convey. It’s more reasonable that the connection between “Redemption” and “Many Mothers” as well as “My Name is Max” is that it is used to represent the action that transpired through or from the relevant characters, permeating long after their presence with the others. They conducted and induced their redemption, albeit via different mediums, they are the ones who incited the redemption themselves, instead of being given it, or attained it via a sudden acquisition of someone or something.
There are many other examples, especially with Nux and his relationships between Capable and Max that exemplify the versatility and omnipresent nature of this theme of the film, these are some of the most distinct examples that elucidate Miller’s conveyance of the nature of redemption, and its intrinsically self-realizing and growing process.