Reading that chrome spray as an analogy of the wider Mad Max: Fury Road screenplay (spoilers)

So the chrome spray in Fury Road has become a thing. This is not surprising, as the film is a runaway success and the chrome spray is cool as hell. People are spamming Amazon reviews for edible silver mist, blogging (+1!), trolling hardware shops, etc.

If you haven’t seen the film, minor spoilers ahead. Still here? OK. The chrome spray is literally a can of something like chrome paint that the fanatic soldier characters, known in the film as war boys, spray over their open mouths.

nux-chrome[1]I particularly liked how the film presents that chrome spray. It is, I feel, a good representation of the film as a whole.

The first time you see it, it’s deployed as part of a berserk-like kamikaze battle cry that – with no other context at that point – leaves open an interpretation that the spray has some kind of stimulant properties. A mortally wounded war boy in a heated battle uses it and is possessed by one last burst energy as he sacrifices himself like a suicide bomber and takes out some enemy soldiers.

It’s used again towards the end of act one by one of the central characters just as he believes he is about to die, at which point additional context shows us more clearly that the spray, which may or may not be a stimulant, is a part of the war boys’ death ritual . The promise of their religion is that to die in battle is to enter ‘Valhalla’, and part of that is being blessed by this chrome.

Later still, the head of that religion – the baddie Immortan Joe – uses the spray to bless a war boy as he send him on an almost certainly suicidal mission. It gives the war boy the fanatic’s incentive to spend his life: if you die now, Immortan Joe himself will carry you through the gates of Valhalla.

The spray then can be seen to be an element one of the films central themes, that religion can be cynically leveraged to make impressionable young men into fanatics that will die in war. Meanwhile as a literal chrome spray, it also represents the machine-world visual aesthetic and chemically-propelled kinetic nature of the film, which is as good an analogy of the screenplay recipe that makes this film greater than the sum of its parts as I would care to look for.

This is why I think the spray is a good representation of the film as a whole. Shiny, crazy, cool as fuck, meaning delivered cinematically rather than by exposition, and thematically consistent.


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