Examining the fictitious religion and symbolism behind Mad Max: Fury Road.
Mad Max: Fury Road dazzled at the just concluded Oscars with 10 nominations and 6 awards; including Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement in Production Design. This milestone places it at par with great titles such as Forrest Gump, Star Wars: Episode IV, All About Eve, and The Godfather Part II as noted by @frankpallotta on Twitter.
One undeniable fact about Mad Max: Fury Road that made it stand among its rivals is the way it handled the theme of religion without prejudice. In fact, there was no direct mention of it in the movie except allowing viewers to draw conclusions from the glaring use of symbolism.
Mad Max is the greatest action movie ever
— START ELNENY (@BasedChasen) February 29, 2016
The movie begins with the capture of Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) by the War Boys. He is only left to stay alive because he is seen as a store of blood because the War Boys need frequent blood transfusion to stay alive. The War Boys are selected at a very young age by the guardian of the elevator platform and indoctrinated into the Cult of the V8 who have Immortan Joe as their leader.
The Cult of the V8 makes the War Boys to believe that Immortan Joe is their savior and the V8 engine their source of power. They are made to believe Immortan Joe is immortal and loyally serving him to death is the only way to Valhalla – a kind of heaven in Norse mythology.
The War Boys spray their faces with powder and their lips with a silver spray paint, “shiny and chrome,” to create a skeleton like appearance before going to war. This is symbolic because the War Boys are made to believe their current life is only half of the complete life they can live. Dying in battle for Immortan Joe will grant them a gateway to Valhalla where their afterlife in luxury.
Before heading out into the dirt road, they pray for victory in front of the V8 Totem that holds the steering then picks out their steering wheel from it. The steering wheel has a flaming skull engraving which signifies mortality. The importance attached to the steering comes to play when someone takes Nux's wheel and he had to fight to get it back.
The V8 cult practice can be easily related to some of the current religious practice around the world and how they cage the human mind into believing things that cannot be verified like Valhalla. There is another form of religion that takes views on a subliminal level which is the religion of The Green Place, a neighboring area, practiced by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). This religion is in total contrast to Immortan Joe's which is self-gratifying.
When Max, in company of Furiosa, Nux and Immortan Joe's sex slaves, got to The Green Place it had been destroyed. They choose the option of going back to the Citadel. Immortan Joe is defeated in the final battle, ending the tyranny.