George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road is spectacular – a cacophony of automotive carnage unlike anything that has ever graced the big screen. Miller delivers a blistering piece of action cinema – you can almost smell the grease and oil seeping through the sun drenched, sandy vistas. The director builds on the post apocalyptic world of his previous Mad Max movies, upping the scope and making the desolate wasteland an even deadlier place to live.
Tom Hardy slips into Mel Gibson’s battered leathers as Max Rockatansky, the former cop haunted by the death of his family who now roams the cursed earth looking for solace. Max is hunted, captured and hung up to be the ‘blood bank’ for Immortan Joe’s (Hugh Keays-Byrne) War Boys. Joe is a twisted despot who rules his Citadel with oppression and fear, using his own religion to keep his people in check. He goes on the warpath when his trusted Furiosa (Charlize Theron) drives off to freedom with Joe’s five enslaved wives (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee Kershaw and Courtney Eaton). Max and Furiosa collide and form an alliance that will see them search for redemption along the Fury Road.
There’s a primal essence to Fury Road that makes it stand out from the many plastic coated, CGI filled blockbusters of the 21st Century. George Miller might be looking to the future in Fury Road’s dystopian narrative but he’s infusing the whole thing with film-making techniques from the past. The magnificent stunt work and the glorious vehicular action must to be seen to be believed. Miller might be 70 years old but his understanding of composing action sequences is second to none. It’s even more impressive when you take into account that the majority of it was done without the use of computer effects. You can sense the danger in every frame – this mise en scene is filled with mayhem. Glorious mayhem.
Performances are often disregarded in action movies but Fury Road features a winning pair in Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Hardy’s Max is bruised and battered from the get-go – he’s the engine that gets the film s moving but Theron is literally it’s driving force, infusing Furiosa with an energy and urgency which pushes Hardy’s Max into the passenger seat. Their dialogue is kept to a minimum but they’re able to deliver so much simply with their eyes.
Hugh Keays-Byrne delivers a hugely memorable screen villain in Immortan Joe. He’s the type of bug screen bad guy that you don’t get anymore. He’s not two toned or complex – he’s just evil and he’s willing to stop at nothing to get what he wants. Nichola Hout’s offers support as Nux, an ADD-fuelled follower of Joe who gets caught up in Furiosa’s long drive to freedom.
Mad Max: Fury Road is unlike any other Hollywood blockbuster and George Miller achieves the impossible by making an big budget action film that fails to play it safe in any way. Miller’s film is epic in scope and ambition and he has managed to deliver a film that may have pushed the limits of cinema to breaking point.
Mad Max: Fury Road must be experienced to be believed.