Mad Max: Fury Road
dir. George Miller
written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
3.75 out of 4 stars
Writer/Director George Miller released the dystopian classic trilogy before I was born. I had heard of Thunderdome and vaguely knew the Mel Gibson went around causing end of the world trouble. I have never seen this trilogy. My familiarity with the director was for his much more edgy fare: Babe and Happy Feet. A return to the franchise that made his career did not seem unwarranted but did not appeal to the non-Mad Max fan in me.
This reboot, or continuation, or however it is classified took my breath away. Max (Tom Hardy in all his actiony goodness) is captured by a monstrous warlord Immortan Joe and serves as a blood bank to his disturbed warriors. His bizarre warriors are dispatched, Max attached to the vehicle of Nux (a wild-eyed, almost unrecognizable Nicholas Hoult), to hunt down Furiosa (fierce Charlize Theron) who is attempting to free Joe’s wives, the mothers of his army. The escape down Fury Road drags the battles through desert, gorges, and swamp land in search of Furiosa’s childhood home.
The strengths of this film are innumerable. From the design of the vehicles to the tattered costumes, the design of the film serves the nonstop action, allowing the details not to be wasted in the high speed chases. The ensemble, notably Theron and Hoult, displays characters unexpected of the actors. Nux (Hoult) is ravenously devoted to his cause of satisfying his master, and nothing of Hoult’s past is examined. Theron, who has a history of playing mighty beauties and deglammed serial killers, allows a protective woman to avoid a one dimensional cyborg feel, despite the metal body parts. A collection of motley apocalyptic terror is produced by the amazing ensemble cast, covered in some of the best makeup work around the theater and surrounded by a guitar laden score from Junkie XL, both hopefully not forgotten come award season.
Surely not to be overlooked is the cinematography by Oscar-winner John Seale (The English Patient). The effects were not simulated. The action sequences were caught the good old fashion way of shooting real stunts through the desert. Seale catches every bit of the action, following the explosions and leaps between the war machines and seizing every manic moment that feeds the film’s energy.
Mad Max: Fury Road is not the everyday action film, or the standard post-apocalyptic drama. It’s a story of survival that deserves the accolades it has collected. The film was executed with passion and thankfully did not require the former trilogy to be enjoyed. Another sequel is underway, noting that this continuation is not yet done.