HomeEntertainmentMad Max Beyond Thunderdome Gave Us The Ultimate Tina Turner Performance

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Gave Us The Ultimate Tina Turner Performance

The “Mad Max” films, as a franchise, pull off a neat trick of combining the simple with the complex. To wit, each installment involves richly drawn characters seeking to accomplish very simple goals, set within an environment that’s rife with world-building and imagination, places where numerous stories could easily be told.

“Beyond Thunderdome” is no exception to this, set as it is largely within the borders of Bartertown, a trading post that seems to double as a last vestige (and/or crude imitation) of civilization within the film’s post-apocalypse. Everything has rules in Bartertown, everything comes with a price, and poor nomad Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), having been robbed at the beginning of the movie, arrives empty-handed.

It’s Turner’s Auntie Entity, the self-made mogul ruler of Bartertown, who offers Max a chance for freedom and supplies if he clandestinely assassinates her rival for control of Bartertown, Master (Angelo Rossitto), a little person who literally rides around on top of his muscle-bound protector, Blaster (Paul Larsson).

Turner not only plays up the inherent dichotomies of the plot, but brings out some deliciously complex dichotomies within her own character as part of her performance. She makes Auntie as regal as a queen, demonstrating how the more fortunate denizens of Bartertown live as opposed to Master Blaster, who wallows in the pig feces that allows the town to have its resources. She portrays the villainous side of Auntie to perfection: witness her first scene meeting Max, in which Turner slinks around Gibson like a classic film noir femme fatale, allowing the sadness within her character to peek out at choice moments (“So much for history”) but maintaining dominance the entire time.




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