George Miller on the U.S. Election: “Sometimes America Feels Like a Failed State”


George Miller’s thoughtful action films have a political bent, and the arrival of Mad Max: Fury Road just before a new election in our late capitalist near-oligarchy is one of those things you can look at and think, “yeah, I don’t have to look too hard for parallels.” So when Vulture caught up with the Mad Max visionary at Cannes (where he’s acting as president of the film festival jury), they asked him whether he considered his desert-y, limited resource-y, dictator-tyrannized society as at all prophetic, particularly given the fact that a poster child of America’s wealth disparity is currently threatening to run the country.

Miller told the website that his films can feel relevant to current events because they’re allegorical and “about what’s pretty constant in our behavior, even in the modern world. There’s a power structure where, one way or another, all of the resources are controlled by the few at the expense of the many.”

He notes how people call it scary, but doesn’t seem to think it was unpredictable at all. “Sometimes America feels like a failed state,” he says. “I remember when I first went to America, the Americans said, ‘The best way to understand America is you’ll get the best and the worst of everything.’ But when you look at the political system it seems very dysfunctional and very sad.”

When asked about his more specific thoughts on the current election, the Australian director says he had actually made a bet on Trump gaining popularity in the U.S. election “with an Australian who works for the diplomatic service so he’s pretty aware.” He continues:

And he said, ‘Oh, Trump won’t get anywhere near the nomination.’ And I said, ‘But compared to the others, he’s got this very compelling charisma.’ And as I watched it happening, I got so anti-Ted Cruz — I agree with John Boehner who says he’s Lucifer in the flesh. That group is very scary.

I bet, if I had it in me, I could even write a long piece on how the memeing of the blobfish predicted Trump — we’re so preoccupied with this extreme election that it seems so easy now to (sometimes as a stretch) connect almost anything to it — but of all the things to link to a seemingly dystopian political climate, George Miller’s work feels particularly resonant.