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Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.

September 12, 2015


Wednesday, September 16th

Hand & Detail, 280 Meeker Ave, Bklyn, NY 11211

7:30pm – Hot Rod, Classic Car Parking available. First come first serve. 

8:30pm – The Outsiders (1983)


It was your bright idea, smarty.

Cine Meccanica is thrilled to present a very special screening of the classic greaser flick The Outsiders. This classic tale of greasers and socs, has always been a dark favorite of mine. Genius cast, a beautiful adaptation of the novel by S. E. Hinton, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, what else could you want?

Well I’m glad you asked. We think you want to see it at a DRIVE-IN…and urban DRIVE-IN in the wilds of Brooklyn, under the smoggy stars, surrounded by hot rods, classic cars, and vintage motorcycles. because…DRIVE-IN!

With the help of Bobby Redd (and after over a decade of plotting and fighting for this) we have put together the first DRIVE-IN in NYC in god knows how long. So, cuff those jeans like you’re “waitin on a floodin”, roll a pack of smokes into that greasy white tee sleeve, lace those cons, and throw the kiddies in the rumble seat to head on over to Hand & Detail.

We’ll have the concession stand hoppin’ with drinks, popcorn…and even a mobile wood fired pizza oven courtesy of Park Luncheonette.

Be there or be square, cause this don’t happen often. See you at the flicks!

Corinna Mantlo


They grew up on the outside of society. They weren’t looking for a fight. They were looking to belong.

The Outsiders is a 1983 American drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton. The film was released on March 25, 1983. Jo Ellen Misakian, a librarian atLone Star Elementary School in Fresno, California, and her students were responsible for inspiring Coppola to make the film.[1]

The film is noted for its cast of up-and-coming stars, including , C. Thomas Howell (who garnered a Young Artist Award), Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, and Diane Lane. The film helped spark the Brat Pack genre of the 1980s. Both Lane and Dillon went on to appear in Coppola’s related film Rumble Fish. Emilio Estevez went on to be in ‘That Was Then… This Is Now, the only S.E. Hinton film adaptation not to star Matt Dillon.


I gotta cut smoking or I’ll never make track next year.

In 1965 Tulsa, Oklahoma, Greasers are a gang of tough, low-income working-class teens. They include Ponyboy Curtis (Howell) and his two older brothers, Sodapop (Lowe) and Darrel (Swayze), as well as Johnny Cade (Macchio), Dallas Winston (Dillon), Two-Bit Matthews (Estevez), and Steve Randle (Cruise). Their rivalry is with the Socs (pronounced /ˈsʃɪz/ soh-shiz), a gang of wealthier kids from the other side of town.


I’m sorry. I didn’t know you had this problem with yelling in my face.

Two Socs, Bob Sheldon (Garrett) and Randy Adderson (Dalton), confront Johnny, Ponyboy, and Two-Bit, who are talking to the Socs’ girlfriends, Cherry (Lane) and Marcia (Meyrink), at a drive-in theater. The girls defuse the situation by going home with the Socs. Later that night, Ponyboy and Johnny are attacked in a park by Bob, Randy, and three other Socs. They begin dunking Ponyboy in a fountain, but Johnny pulls out his switchblade and stabs Bob, accidentally killing him.


Man that was one tough car. Mustangs, they’re tough.

On the advice of Dallas, Ponyboy and Johnny leave town, and hide out in an abandoned church in Windrixville. Ponyboy bleaches his hair with peroxide in case anybody spots him. He reads Gone with the Wind and quotes the Robert Frost poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay“. Dallas arrives with news that Cherry has offered to support the boys in court, that he told the police that Johnny and Pony were in Texas, and gives Pony a note from Sodapop. They go out for food, then return to find the church on fire with children trapped inside.


I hope I never see Dallas Winston again. If I do I’d… probably fall in love with him.

The Greasers turn into heroes as they rescue the kids from the burning church. It doesn’t take long for Ponyboy and Dally to heal up. Johnny, on the other hand, ends up with a broken back and severe burns. The boys are praised for their heroism, but Johnny is charged with manslaughter for killing Bob, while Ponyboy may be sent to a boys’ home.


We gotta win that fight tonight. We gotta get even with those Socs! Let’s do it for Johnny, man. We’ll do it for Johnny!

Bob’s death has sparked calls from the Socs for “a rumble,” which the Greasers win. Dallas drives Ponyboy to the hospital to visit Johnny. Johnny is unimpressed by the victory, and dies after telling Ponyboy to “stay gold,” referring to the Frost poem. Unable to bear Johnny’s death, Dallas wanders through the hospital, pretending to shoot a doctor with his unloaded gun, which clicks harmlessly. He then robs a grocery store with the same gun, but he is shot and wounded by the owner as he flees. Pursued by the police, Dallas is surrounded in a park and the police kill him after he repeatedly refuses to drop his unloaded gun. Ponyboy is eventually cleared of wrongdoing in Bob’s death and allowed to stay with his brothers.


WHY DO YOU BOTHER HELPING PEOPLE, HUH? It doesen’t do any good.

Turning the pages of Johnny’s copy of Gone with the Wind, Ponyboy finds a letter from Johnny saying that saving the children was worth sacrificing his own life. The story ends as it began, with Ponyboy writing a school report about his experiences. – IMDB

Rebellion is the only thing that keeps you alive!

September 7, 2015

CM Girl On A MotoNihil

Girl on a Motorcycle (1968)

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

NIHIL Gallery

251 Douglass Street, Brooklyn 11217

Film starts at 8pm

As always, free popcorn,  and $2 Vehicular Bingo for prizes!

Directed by the renowned cinematographer Jack Cardiff, and based on the novella La Motocyclette by Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues (1966)

In the early morning light, after a night of trippy, existential dreams, Rebecca (Marianne Faithfull) sneaks out of her bed in Alsace, France where her stable, school teacher husband, Raymond (Roger Mutton) sleeps.

Zipping herself into a black leather jumpsuit, she climbs onto her Harley and heads for Heidelberg, Germany to her dark, dangerous, ex motorcycle racing lover, Daniel (played by Alain Delon, referred to as the French James Dean, and the male Brigitte Bardot).

Riding through the European countryside, Rebecca is free and alone on the open road, full of excitement and anticipation in seeing her Daniel.

Flashbacks tell the story of how they first met. While working at her father’s bookshop, Daniel looking for a rare book, takes her out for a ride on his Norton Atlas. The affair begins.

Daniel, to whom the affair is clearly nothing more than an affair, makes a rather posturing, inappropriate wedding gift to Rebecca of the Harley. Delivered to her father’s shop, Raymond is confused and hurt, but tells her to keep it if it will make her happy.

Finally arriving in Heidelberg, Rebecca is ecstatic. She throws herself into Daniels arms in an exhausted frenzy. The rendevouz is short lived however, as the moment she sees Daniel, her thoughts switch to longing for Raymond.

We see a now more complex Raymond. He’s Very similar to Daniel we discover, and dark in his own way. They both teach, they both smoke pipes, and in many ways they are both very much like her father.

Weeping in a café, she tries to write a letter to end it with Daniel but is unable. It seems clear nothing will change. Wadding up the tear stained letter, she storms out. Full of love and defiant conviction that she has done nothing wrong and that she should have them both.

Now her thoughts are of nothing but the Harley and the road. She speeds towards home and Raymond, knowing she will soon once again be in Heidelberg with Daniel. Laughing, weeping, pushing the bike faster and faster. Weaving in and out of traffic, she is at peace. She is happy alone on the road. Racing towards the future and with no regard for the past.

WHAM! Head on, into a truck. A huge ball of flames and a slow pan out to show the pileup and spectators running towards the scene.

– Corinna Mantlo

Full album of screen shots HERE

Alain Delon on Marianne Faithfull: “She is a happening all to herself. She is the type of girl men fought dragons for in mythology, the type that duels have been fought over.”

(from an interview with the actors on the making of Girl on a Motorcycle in the October 1968 issue of ABC Film Review, by Philip Bradford)


Where were you in ’62?

September 1, 2015

American Graffiti (1973)

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

NIHIL Gallery

251 Douglass Street, Brooklyn 11217

Film starts at 8pm

CM American Graffiti Nihil

complimentary popcorn and $2 bingo for prizes!

And be sure to visit the concession stand for snacks and libations!


Hey, hey, hey, baby. What do you say?

– Justin Melkmann

The Band: WWIX

The Comics


This is a super fine machine.


A double Chubby-Chuck, a chili-barb, two orders of French fries and…

Total insanity, what’s his hurry?!

August 24, 2015

Vanishing Point (1971)

Wednesday, August 26th

NIHIL Gallery

251 Douglass Street, Brooklyn 11217

Film starts at 8pm

Just $5 admission, and included complimentary popcorn and bingo card for prizes!

And be sure to visit the concession stand for snacks and libations!

CM Vanishing Point Nihil

California – Sunday 10:02am

Opening credits roll over vast expanses of open road. Old men with stern faces and slow moving bulldozers creating a roadblock across the highway. Sirens break the calm as a super charged 1970 white Dodge Challenger flies by followed by a helicopter close behind.

The challenger’s driver, Kowalski (Barry Newman), seemingly unbothered by the cops on his tail, steps out of the Challenger and pauses by a heap of twisted, rusting metal on the side of the road for a reflective moment of silent.

Two days earlier: Denver Colorado – Friday 11:02pm

Kowalski, a speed popping, cross country car delivery man, Bets his dealer the tab for the bennies that he can’t make it to Frisco by 3 o’clock the next day.“The race is On”

CB cop 1: Total insanity! What’s his hurry?

CB cop 2: Your guess is as good as ours. 10-4

Driving like a bat out of hell across the American roadways, flashbacks allude to the demons Kowalski is trying to outrun. This race isn’t about the tab for the bennies, or his commitment to deliver the car for a job. It’s Kowalski’s trip and he’s got nothing to lose. Running a motorcycle cop off the road, flashes to Kowalski’s dirt racing days and a close call on the track. Sending a windbag hot-rodder flying into a pond and totaling his Jag, flashes to a stock car race and a multi car pile up with Kowalski upside down and bloodied in the wreck.

Hey Kowalski, you out there?

A blond pump attendant with sad eyes, flashes to his days as a cop with a no good partner who abuses his authority by trying to take advantage of a young girl. Kowalski steps in, but it’s clear that ended his carear in law enforcement. The solitude of the desert flash to a lost love. A beautiful surfer girl and a calm day on the beach. “Sayonara, remember me” as she runs into the winter surf, never to return.

There goes the Challenger. Being chased by the blue, blue meanies on wheels. The vicious traffic squad cars are after our known driver. The last American hero. The electric centaur, the demigod, the super driver of the golden west. Two nasty cars are behind the lone driver. The police numbers are getting closer, closer, closer to our soul hero in his soul mobile. “They’re gonna get him. Smash him. Rape the last beautiful, free soul on this planet.

Super Soul, the blind DJ at KOW (Kowalski) radio station, listens to the cops chatter over the CB. He’s tuned into Kowalski’s moves in advance and knows just what and when to broadcast to help him evade the cops. Kowalski doesn’t appear to have every asked for the help or even know the DJ, and Super Soul acts as the Oepipal chorus. The invisible voice of the oppressed soul that Kowalski embodies.

The question is not when’s he gonna stop, but who is gonna stop him.

As Super Soul broadcasts, people begin to gather in the streets in rallied support of Kowalski. The cops attempt to silence Super Soul, but the cops haven’t estimated the power of the anti hero.

Almost every single shot of the film includes a vehicle. The super charged Challenger and it’s reckless, broken young driver is a sharp contrast to the rusted out, forgotten pickup trucks along the road, though there seems to be a comradery and respect between the two.

Patiently. That’s the only way to wait for somebody.

Helped by a biker and his naked Honda riding girlfriend who’s followed his race career and fraudulent frame up as a dirty cop, Kowalski gets a fresh supply of bennies and a mini bike rigged to the top of his car, headlight flashing to disguise the Callenger as a cop car. With this rig, he tears through the cops blocking the California border, and we are brought full circle to where the film opened. A long stretch of highway with two bulldozers blocking the road, now surrounded by spectators, cops, and news reporters. Super Soul pleads with Kowalski to take it slow, but knows it’s no use.

For the first time, Kowalski’s stone face, always intent on the road, cracks into a smile and his blood shot eyes light up. It’s as if he’s driven right through the hell of his past and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He’s missed his deadline and lost the bet, but there’ll be a next time, and more friendly bets of bennies to justify them. It’s a man and his car and nothing else. The open road the speed to forget.

WHAM! Straight into the dozers at record speeds, and the credits roll while the media and gawkers pick at the carcass of the crumpled hero.

Corinna Mantlo

Full album of screen shots HERE


Read all about the cars in the film on IMCBDb: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, with a 440 cubic-inch V-8, and not a 426 Hemi V-8 (as is often believed). Eight white Challengers loaned from the Chrysler Corporation were used during the filming.

The Challenger had Colorado plates: OA-5599

A 1967 Camaro shell (no engine) loaded with explosives was used for the final crash. You can see the “Camaro” fender nameplate upside-down in the lower left corner of the screen after the crash.

Whatcha Got In The Truck?

August 17, 2015

Repo Man (1984)

Wednesday, August 19th

NIHIL Gallery

251 Douglass Street, Brooklyn 11217

Film starts at 8pm

Just $5 admission, and complimentary popcorn.

And be sure to visit the concession stand for mouth watering BBQ, and thirst quenching beer and cocktails

CM RepoMan NihilPolice Officer: “Whatcha got in the trunk?”

Driver: “Oh…you don’t want to look in there”

The life of a repo man is always intense.

In the final scene of the film, Otto (Emilio Estevez) is faced with the ultimate dilemma; the girlfriend, or a radioactive 1964 Chevy Malibu that has already killed or maimed most of the cast. He makes the only logical choice…

Leila: But Otto, what about our relationship?

Otto: Fuck That!


The more you drive, the less intelligent you are

The Plot: Frustrated punk rocker Otto (Emilio Estevez) gets fired from his supermarket job after slugging a co-worker (Zander Schloss), and is later dumped by his girlfriend (Jennifer Delgobin) at a party.

Look at those assholes, ordinary fucking people. I hate ’em.

Wandering the streets in frustration, he is recruited in the repossession of a car by a repo agent (Harry Dean Stanton). After discovering his parents have donated his college fund to a televangelist, he joins the repossession agency (Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation) as an apprentice repo man.

Debbi: Duke, let’s go do some crimes.

Duke: Yeah. Let’s go get sushi and not pay.

During his training, he is introduced into the mercenary and paranoid world of the drivers, befriended by a UFO conspiracy theorist (Olivia Barash), confronted by rival repo agents (Eddie Velez, & Del Zamora), discovers some of his friends have turned to a life of crime, is lectured to about cosmic unconsciousness by the repo agency grounds worker (Tracey Walter), and finds himself entangled in a web of intrigue concerning a huge repossession bounty on a 1964 Chevy Malibu driven by a lunatic government scientist (Fox Harris), with top secret cargo in the trunk… A lot o’ people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch o’ unconnected incidents ‘n things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice o’ coincidence that lays on top o’ everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you’re thinkin’ about a plate o’ shrimp. Suddenly someone’ll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o’ shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin’ for one, either. It’s all part of a cosmic unconciousness.

Otto: You eat a lot of acid, Miller, back in the hippie days?

Miller: I’ll give you another instance: you know how everybody’s into weirdness right now?…

Read an Interview about the cars of Repo Man HERE


Recap: Mad Max (1979) screening

May 23, 2015

C.M Mad Max 5.10

May 10th, 2015: In anticipation of Fury Road, Cine Meccanica hosted a screening of the film thats started it all…Mad Max (1979)!


On a lovely Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn, guests were welcomed to Northeast Sportscar, which always houses a collection of incredible, rare machines, by myself and a lovely retro modern steed, the shiny red Royal Enfield Continental GT.

The concession stand

Tuck Shop authentic Australian meet pies, Beer Shandies, cold brew coffee, home made sides and Fairy Bread, along with the classic buttered popcorn.

11050644_10152896192961173_8368018148445852925_nThe screening

Motorcyclists, Hot Rodders, and film lovers alike gathered together for this intimate screening of the classic flick.

Huge thanks to Jupiters Motorycles, MotorGrrl, and Beaner Bar and especially our host Northeast Sportscar for making this screening possible!


Fairy Bread

1. Slather a slice of white bread with margarine

2. Sprinkle with rainbow Nonparells

3. Slice bread diagonally into two pieces

4. Enjoy this classic Aussie childrens party treat

Corinna Mantlo

Recap: Ride to…Mad Max Fury Road!

May 23, 2015


On May 10th, in anticipation of the newest Mad Max film, Fury Road, we gathered and watched the original at Northeast Sportscar. Read all about that event here: Mad Max (1979)


Dressing the part with my apocalypse Beezer.

On May 15th, we gathered a second time (some in costume) at MotorGrrl and Bar Matchless to ride out in force to watch Fury Road on the big screen.


Attention to detail. Replica MFP badges on my 1953 Harley Queen motorcycle jacket, the gift  of a dear friend. Thanks Mike!

11226053_10152985506699608_1260264976298763002_nHuge thank you to Williamsburg Cinemas for hooking us up with VIP seating in the front row (though we had the first first three filled at least!), out front parking and last minute tickets to the sold out show to accommodate the crew we rolled in on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film, an action packed two hour car chase, and while I am a Max purist and this was not that, it brought up some new ideas and direction to the Max brand which were an interesting twist. I was also blown away by the cars and bikes built for the film. Very little CGI here which was such a welcome treat. The weight and power of the apocalypse desert racers could be felt from the safety of our theatre seats. The women of the film also killed it, from the heroin, to the wives, to the last women of the green place, it was such a treat to watch this feminist twist surrounded by my wonderful motorcycle sisters, The Miss-Fires. While I ponder this controversial film a bit longer, I leave you with one of many reviews, by  for The New Yorker.

Corinna Mantlo



High Gear

“Mad Max: Fury Road.”


George Miller’s new film gathers up all that we seem to crave, right now, from our movies, and yanks it to the limit.
George Miller’s new film gathers up all that we seem to crave, right now, from our movies, and yanks it to the limit.

There is a moment, in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” when Max (Tom Hardy) washes blood off his face. This is unsurprising, since he has just engaged in one of many fights, but two points are worthy of note. First, the blood is not his. Second, he washes it off not with water but with mother’s milk, siphoned from a gas tanker. And there, in one image, you have George Miller’s film—wild and unrelenting, but also possessed of the outlandish poetry, laced with hints of humor, that rises to the surface when the world is all churned up.

The movie is set in the near future. There are no cities or civilizations left. The landscape is dying of thirst; water—known as Aqua Cola—is severely rationed; and other resources, notably gasoline, are hoarded and tussled over like scraps of food. Max is a survivor, like everyone else, and, as we join the stream of action, he is captured and hauled into servitude at the Citadel. Girded with towers of rock, this is the desert stronghold of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), a monstrous figure who lords it over a swarm of ragged wretches. His toadlike skin is caged in a transparent breastplate, and he breathes through a mask that’s armed with yellowing horses’ teeth and fed by bellows that wheeze up and down on the back of his neck. Probably a charming fellow, once you get to know him.

Max, being Max, tries to escape, only to be grabbed once more and strapped to the front of a vehicle, like a fender of flesh, with his sturdy features barred by a metal grille. Tom Hardy fans, who struggled so intently to understand him when he played Bane, in “The Dark Knight Rises,” may be less than thrilled to learn that their hero’s speech is yet again impeded. Just as you’re wondering if the poor guy will ever express himself freely, however, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a new acquaintance of Max’s, asks, “You want that thing off your face?” The day is saved, though it’s not as if he starts chatting away like Cary Grant in “His Girl Friday.” You could tattoo the entirety of Max’s dialogue onto his biceps. One of his longest lines is “Hope is a mistake.”

Furiosa has a prosthetic arm, and her tendency to smear black grease across her brow may cause the fragrance honchos at Dior, where Theron is paid to spread the word about J’Adore, to reach for their atomizers. Furiosa is a driver, employed by Joe’s henchmen to transport precious fuel, who suddenly goes rogue, steering the War Rig, her vast and snarling truck, off course. A posse is dispatched to hunt her down. We soon discover her concealed cargo—the Wives, five young women who were imprisoned by Immortan Joe and doomed to bear his children. Our first glimpse of them bodes ill: limber beauties, draped in muslin underwear and hosing themselves down in the middle of nowhere. It’s like the start of a Playboy shoot. Yet the film not only recovers but winds up as a testament to female resilience, thanks to the Vuvalini—a small and leathery tribe of matriarchs, described by the film’s production designer as “lovely old bikie chicks.” Astride belching motorcycles, they hare up and down sand dunes, and accompany Max, Furiosa, and the Wives on the final leg of the plot.

I have been looking forward to this movie for months, trying not to watch the trailers more than twice a day, but, fool that I am, I hadn’t foreseen its feminist ambitions—crystallized in the sight of one Wife, heavily pregnant, flinging wide the door of the War Rig and flaunting her belly, like a bronze shield, at her enraged pursuers. (The Wives were coached in preparation for the film by Eve Ensler, the author of “The Vagina Monologues.” This must be a first. Gloria Steinem was never hired as a consultant on “The Dirty Dozen.”) Later comes a droll sequence with a sniper’s rifle, as our hero aims at a searchlight, in the distant gloom, but misses. Only one bullet remains. Furiosa takes the gun and hits the target, using Max’s shoulder as a rest. The tough guy is nothing but a cushion.

We have met Max before. He first appeared in “Mad Max” (1979), as a youthful cop bent on revenge after a murderous attack on his wife and child. His outfit, like his automobile, was of battered black. He returned, in similar guise, in “The Road Warrior” (1981) and “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” (1985), opposite a resplendent Tina Turner. All three films were directed by George Miller (he had a co-director on the third), and they have acquired the burnish of a cult. Beware of cult flicks, though, whose reputation sits uneasily on little more than a look; how often did the restive kids who papered their walls with stills of “Easy Rider,” or of Brando in “The Wild One,” sit through the actual movie? The earlier “Mad Max” films, it pains me to report, have not weathered well; they seem overacted and overscored, chuckling at nastiness, and held together mainly by the presence of Mel Gibson in the title role. You watched him as you would a live grenade.

The good news is that “Mad Max: Fury Road” exists in a different league. It lies way, way beyond Thunderdome, and marks one of the few occasions on which a late sequel outdoes what came before. Is it a sequel, though? There are flashbacks to Max’s past, but they are over in seconds, and you can certainly relish the new film, in all its lunatic majesty, without being versed in Maxist dialectics. Indeed, it exults in a proud indifference to backstory. Furiosa mentions her origins, explaining that she was snatched away from “a green place,” but that’s it. As for Max, Hardy is more earthed than Gibson, and less wired—indeed, less mad, propelled not by the engine of wrath but by a solid response to the madness that engulfs the characters like a sandstorm. Max’s deeds rarely strike us as gratuitous. Instead, they seem resignedly brutal, as if there were no other way to live. Whether his deepest desire is for liberty, or simply for a dour solitude, I can’t decide, but I loved the coolness with which, having taken command in battle, he melts away, once it’s over, into the shifting throng.

That wonderful image allows Miller to draw back and survey the scene from on high. Such is the root of his near-mystical prestige as a creator of action films: a bright, instinctive sense of when and where to cut from the telling detail to the wider view, and back again. Those instincts were there in the first “Mad Max,” which, for all its cheapness, picked up rhythm whenever it hit the highway, and they are resurgent here. They connect Miller not so much to the panicky despots of the modern blockbuster, like Michael Bay, as to directors of Hollywood musicals, and to the early choreographers of the chase, in the wordless days when pictures lived by motion alone. In “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the Polecats—aggressors who arc from one vehicle to another, in mid-race, on the end of long stakes—are the descendants of Buster Keaton, who, in “Three Ages,” fell from a roof through three awnings and clutched at a drainpipe, which swung him out into the void and back through an open window.

Some things have changed. Miller’s debt to silent cinema is slightly quelled, in the new film, by the Doof Warrior, who hangs from the front of a truck and thrashes out power chords on his twin-necked guitar, which also acts as a flamethrower. Also, Keaton meant nobody harm, whereas the Polecats are bent on little else, as are the War Boys, the Bullet Farmer, Rictus Erectus, and Slit—unfriendly types, released from the strange laboratory of Miller’s brain. One of the Wives is called Toast the Knowing, and Nicholas Hoult has a blast as a renegade named Nux, who spray-paints his lips silver to supercharge the mood. His dream is to die with honor, “shiny and chrome,” like an exploding machine. All this is such fun, and it teeters so close to insanity, with a hundred and fifty vehicles at Miller’s disposal, and with a pack of cameras sent into the fracas like baying hounds on a scent, that you come out asking, Why is this movie not an unholy mess?

Partly, I think, because Miller treats his story line as Max would treat his car—stripping out superfluity and softness, in the interest of pure speed. Throw charges of implausibility at the film, and they bounce off the hood. Credit must go, too, to John Seale, the director of photography, who was cajoled out of retirement for this project, and who somehow fills every frame to the brim without spilling. As the War Rig growls through a gully, edged with crags of stone, Seale unveils the beauty within the peril, harking back not just to his own work on “The English Patient” but to that of Freddie Young on “Lawrence of Arabia,” in which a camel bore Peter O’Toole through a similar pass. Matched against the golden dirt of the desert is the sad nocturnal blue of a swamp, where scavengers prowl on stilts and where, in an extraordinary spectacle, Max wrestles with a lonely tree, just as Max von Sydow did in Bergman’s “The Virgin Spring.” No one knows if Miller’s film will endure, as David Lean’s and Bergman’s have done, but it must be said that, for better or worse, “Mad Max: Fury Road” gathers up all that we seem to crave, right now, from our movies, and yanks it to the limit. For anyone who denied that “Titus Andronicus” could ever be mashed up with “The Cannonball Run,” here is your answer, and we are only too happy to follow Nux as he cries, “What a lovely day!,” and accelerates into a whirlwind of fire. Enjoy the movie, but for God’s sake don’t drive home. ♦


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