Minimalism is a troubling concept to me. This isn't to say that I don't believe in its merits. In fact, what likely troubles me the most about the idea is that it feels like a daringly idealistic, but wholly impossible objective in life. Real life has an incredible knack for letting everything bleed into each other, and very few experiences, if any, are ever had in a vacuum devoid of influence from the spectrum of other experiences we have in life.

Our most basic and straightforward moments are even painted by things more complicated. Stress from the job waiting for you on Monday will do its best to keep you from enjoying relaxing weekends. Film (and all artistic mediums, for that matter), however, isn't life, and managing to remind myself of that is one of the most freeing things I have yet experienced.

Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and in many ways, this can be a hugely positive thing. Thanks to the abundance of different data types at our disposal, we now have immensely greater access to information than previously imaginable. This means that we are set up to view and analyze things, including film, by making these same types of connections.

With film, however, we sometimes have a rare opportunity to disconnect from our multitude of experiences and observe without outside influence. By doing this, we can gain a better ability to view themes and ideas through a wider variety of lenses. This is especially true when we see films that go against the usual bombardment of information we face by presenting things more minimally. In fact, effective use of minimalism in film not only presents the medium of film to us differently than we are used to, but actually force us to make connections in a different way than we normally do, as well.

In my opinion, no recent film has shown this better than George Miller's 2015 masterpiece, Mad Max: Fury Road. While the film has plenty of the grandiose in elements such as its settings and scope, where the film is at its most impactful and striking is where it is most reserved and minimalist--dialogue and exposition (or lack thereof).

Throughout Fury Road, there is incredible restraint when it comes to dialogue. Characters speak minimally, and very little of the film is ever explained through exposition. Even the longest piece of unbroken dialogue by a character in the entire film, spoken by Furiosa to Max, is still incredibly brief (and looking at all of the dialogue in the film, you can see that this might as well be a Shakespearean monologue compared to the majority of the film).

"I've talked with the others. We're never gonna have a better chance to make it across the salt. If we leave the rig here, and load the motorcycles up with as much as we can, we can maybe ride for a hundred and sixty days. One of those bikes is yours. Fully loaded. You're more than welcome to come with us."

The minimalism of Fury Road's dialogue is so striking because of how strongly it contrasts with our normal expectations and experiences, both in film and life in general. We are normally so conditioned to either be presented with, or have access to answers for every piece of background information or question that may arise. Films are now so frequently parts of larger, interconnected universes or filled with origin stories, that we, as the audience, now see these things as a standard aspect of our filmgoing experience.

With this more sparse approach, however, the viewer must rely on experiencing the film without always understanding every single piece of the story instead of having everything explicitly laid out for them. Pulling back the dialogue in Fury Road also elevates other aspects of the film like its visuals and action sequences, both of which were some of the most striking that I have ever seen in film.

The quality of these aspects of Fury Road is, by no means, reliant upon the minimal dialogue. They are both stunning by their own merits and would still be worthy of praise even if George Miller had not taken this minimalist path for Fury Road. Its predecessor in the franchise, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, for example, is still highly thought of, despite some incredibly weak dialogue and major story arc issues, largely because of its visuals and action sequences (and Tina Turner, obviously).

I will never be so reactionary (I hope, at least) to say that all film should follow this same minimalistic approach as Mad Max: Fury Road. In fact, part of what makes it so powerful is its contrast to typical expectations. However, I think that a large amount of film would be well-served to take from minimalism at times. Far too often, films are far too quick to over explain or move onto the next thing when, instead, simply slowing down and letting the audience take in the film would allow it to more strongly resonate.