Screens flooded with color, explosions, costumes, settings, overall loudness—high-definition detail—this is the quintessential action film, and it’s no less Mad Max: Fury Road. Black and white pictures might have once had a timely and aesthetic place in motion pictures and might have nostalgic value today, but that’s about it. Black and white has limited target audiences, mainly art films.
George Miller, director of the recent hit Mad Max: Fury Road, disagrees. He has “demanded” a black and white version of the film be included on blu-ray editions, and his wish will be fulfilled.
In his appreciation of silent films, Miller has also announced that the black and white version will be viewable with just the isolated score’s accompaniment. In such a raw, bare Fury Road, visuals have to be appreciated at face value, as their own means of communication, and not as part of just another cinematic flourish.
Curiously enough, in an interview with /Film, Miller laments that “the default position for everyone is to de-saturate post-apocalyptic movies.” But for him, “There’s only two ways to go, make them black and white — the best version of this movie is black and white, but people reserve that for art movies now. The other version is to really go all-out on the color.”
And this is what he did “to differentiate the movie.” So where does black and white fit so assuredly into the scene?
In Miller’s own words: “… every time I saw the black and white I thought ‘oh, my god!’ It just reduces it to this really gutsy high-con black and white, very, very powerful.”
Miller clearly has a respect for visual language and simplicity. He calls other action films’ disregard for space or geography in rapid action sequences the cause of “a kind of visual noise.” Yuck. Good point, George. Likely, this opinion plays into his love of black and white. And there really is something simple and beautiful about it, in the end.
In response to this news, YouTube user Renn Brown created and posted on his account a black and white version of the Fury Road trailer. If nothing else will, it lends sure credence to Miller’s claims. Fury Road stuns in black and white.
With scripts already underway for the next films in Miller’s planned Mad Max trilogy, the amount of material fans have to anticipate is almost as insane as Fury Road’s stunts themselves.
T. Cooley is a scriptwriting/ production student at university. If there’s a story, visual or textual, you can bet she’ll want to talk about it. So pull up a chair, and let’s dig into those stories we love!