Movie Review: Mad Max - Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
Recommended To: Those longing for a visceral action film with throwback aesthetics where the mayhem has a jarring impact.

Synopsis: In the wastes of the post-apocalyptic word Max Rcokatansky (Tom Hardy) forms a tentative alliance with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as they both flee from Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his armada of twisted-metal machines.

Review: Chronologically Fury Road lands between Mad Max and its sequel Mad Max 2, which was retitled as The Road Warrior in the United States, and finds Max cast as a wandering nomad pushed to the brink of absolute madness by his inability to save his family. It isn't long before Max is chased by a roaming hoard of post-apocalyptic bandits who serve Immortan Joe, a self-proclaimed deity who placates the masses with empty promises and terror. Trapped in Joe's den of terror Max tattooed, caged and hung to act as a blood bag for Nux, a War Boy in Joe's army of living skeletons.There Max would remain to die were it not for the rebellious actions of Imperator Furiosa who, for reasons yet unknown, has veered from the planned course on her supply run and is leading the War Rig, a massive tanker augmented for battle, into enemy territory. Thus begins the most insane and arguably greatest cinematic car chase in the history of cinema.

It's been far too long since a movie of this size felt so dangerous. In a time when cinema is overrun with CGI epics it is refreshing to have a director in George Miller who is willing to go against the standard and make a film that relies so heavily on practical effects. There are a few moments that are presumably CGI, but they fit so neatly beside the real mechanical mayhem that they add to, rather than take away, from the visceral action. But Miller's bravery also extends to the film's narrative. The title card may say "Mad Max," but Fury Road belongs to Furiosa and Charlize Theron. It's not that Tom Hardy doesn't make a formidable Max; he absolutely does. It's just that at this point in Max's life he's not quite the hero that he once was or that we know he someday will be. He's damaged beyond recognition and needs a purpose to help him rediscover himself; to find redemption. Furiosa provides that purpose. What makes Fury Road fantastic isn't the masterful action sequences, it is Miller's ability to fit a story filled with character arcs for Furiosa, Nux and Max. In two hours we watch these characters transform as they are faced with disappointment and disillusion. The gorgeous visuals, mind-bending stunts and incredible explosions will entertain while the film's narrative and themes edify. There is hope in the wasteland of life. Sometimes it just hurts like hell to find it.

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Additional Mad Max: Fury Road coverage

Tom Hardy & Jacob Tomuri: Doppelgangers vs CGI

Rosie Huntington - Whiteley and Abbey Lee: 'Damsels' in the Desert

George Miller, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron: In the Absence of Heroes

Charlize Theron: George Miller's Female Characters

George Miller and Nicholas Hoult: Practical Effects and Modern Cameras

Tom Hard: Becoming Max