I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road five days ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. It’s been 30 years since the last time Max was on the big screen and this film took 14 years to make!
Full disclosure, I am not a fan of the original Mad Max films and I’m not usually interested in action films but the great thing about Mad Max: Fury Road is that it works as both an action film and an intellectual film. There is plenty of food for thought in Fury Road.
Tom Hardy is perfectly cast as Max, charismatic but stoic, who is caught at the beginning of the film by the War Boys, a group of men who serve Immortan Joe, a cult like figure who controls the only source of water left after a nuclear war. Max becomes a ‘blood bag’ a wonderfully macabre way of giving blood to sick War Boys. Max is strapped to the front of a war car as his blood is pumped into the sickly Nux, played by Nicholas Hoult.Nux is part of a convoy of War Boys sent out to bring back Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who when taking her war rig out to collect gasoline changes course and starts driving into the desert. Furiosa has Immortan Joe’s ‘wives’ aka sex slaves hidden in her war rig and is taking them to safety which causes a road war of epic proportions.
Max finds himself caught up in the road war and despite his reluctance, he ends up as an ally to Furiosa, Joe’s ‘wives’ and Nux as they try to survive against an army of violent road warriors. Max understands Furiosa's need to help these women and with him riding shotgun they fight back against the War Boys and Immortan Joe.
Charlize Theron is outstanding as tough as nails Furiosa which is just as well because really, Fury Road is all about Furiosa, much to the chagrin of sexists the world over. Which, I must admit I find highly amusing.So much has already been written about Furiosa and the feminist subtext throughout the film but I just have to say it anyway..Mad Max is a breath of fresh air. Furiosa is not your typical ‘strong female character’ who falls into the trap of being tough but despite her strength needs saving at least one and/or forms romantic feelings for her leading man or is put in sexually threatening situations etc. Which are things I am sick to death of seeing.George Miller's wife Margaret Sixel edited the film and I think a lot of what makes the film stand out, particularly when it comes to the female characters and lack of typical foibles and stereotypes that are all too common when it comes to female characters in film.
Furiosa is one of the most compelling female action heroes in a long time. She is physically and mentally strong, of few words, has courage and intelligence, cares deeply and has a cool bionic arm. I almost don’t want to say disabled because she is just as able and capable as any able bodied person.
The film is a feast for the senses, it’s visually stunning in every respect, from the scenery to the insane "shiny and chrome" cars that chase Furiosa across the barren landscape and it’s worth noting that very little CGI was actually used in the film. The soundtrack is by Junkie XL and works wonderfully with the huge scale of the film.George Miller has directed all of the Mad Max films and I think it says a lot about him as a filmmaker that he can reboot his franchise in such a fresh and exciting way.
Many filmmakers have fallen foul to losing some of their creative genius as they age, Miller is 70, but much like Martin Scorsese did with The Wolf of Wall Street, Miller has delivered a vibrant and energetic film.There is little dialogue in the film but it really doesn’t need a lot of unnecessary chit chat between characters. Everything you need to know is there in front of you. Just a look is able to communicate so much and it's this minimalism in the face of such a colossal film that makes it all the more poignant.
From misogyny and patriarchy, religion, age, corruption, PTSD and more, the themes explored in Mad Max:Fury Road are universal, relevant and definitely worth the admission price!