Mad Max: Fury Road
Release Date: OUT NOW!
15 | 120 minutes Director: George Miller Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington- Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz, Hugh Keays- Byrne
Bonkers is not a
description you often get to apply to filthy, dust storm- ravaged tales of post- apocalyptic wastelands and the people who live there, but in the hands of Mad Max director George Miller, it’s become an apt one as this franchise has motored along to increasingly surreal places.
Now, 30 years since he went Beyond Thunderdome, Max is back. Or, more accurately, a “new interpretation” ( Miller’s description) is, with Tom Hardy assaying a slightly different take on the character than Mel Gibson’s Max Rockastansky. Hardy’s version is even more feral, though haunted by similar ghosts of people he couldn’t save. Twitchy, guttural and still driven by the need for survival, this Max faces an even more bizarre, barren world, albeit one that should be familiar to those who have watched the other movies.
Fury Road is one, long intense chase scene, broken up by brief breathers to let characters recoup. Max is captured by the War Boys, a savage cult that comes across like a Slipknot gig crossed with the kid from 1995’ s Powder cranked up to an insane degree, led by the wheezing, despotic Immortan Joe ( Hugh Keays- Byrne). His is a society where those not chosen to live and serve alongside him must plead for the water he provides. The War Boys themselves are fanatics, driven by the promise of combat and glory, crazed and chaotic. And the women in his life are either there to serve as potential mothers for what he hopes will be a pure set of children to start dragging humanity from its ruined state, or milk factories. One major exception is Imperator Furiosa ( Charlize Theron), who has plans of her own to escape and take Joe’s “wives” with him. Theron holds her own against the men, proving just as badass as anyone – even with one arm supplanted by a metallic tool.
Miller, his co- writers Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris, and the stunt/ special effects teams conjure up all manner of crazed setpieces as Joe chases down the desperate women. There’s an impressive commitment to largely practical work here, with little in the way of digital trickery when it comes to the driving scenes. He’s also amped up the hyper- real feel with different camera speeds, leaving you dizzy at times, which is quite an achievement in an era where blockbusters routinely try to impress but come away lacking something. The film’s also beautiful to look at, with scorched orange wastelands during the day turning cool blue at night.
If there’s a downside to the propulsive action, it’s that Fury Road doesn’t always feel like a completely cohesive film – and the story isn’t exactly the most satisfying of narratives, more the hook for the motorised insanity. And for all that he takes it to the Max, Hardy never quite makes the same impression as Gibson did back in the ’ 80s. That’s partly because Max feels a little swept up in things instead of driving the action ( pun intended, because he does a lot of driving), and even as his early ferocity gives way to a more measured approach later on, it’s tough to completely feel for him. Still, Hardy gives it his all, growling in a voice that shifts between Aussie, Bane- like depth and something animalistic. Nicholas Hoult, meanwhile, has a fine old time as Nux, a War Boy with big dreams of dying a glorious death who becomes entangled with Furiosa and her mission, and learns that not everything revolves around being a whitewashed, brainwashed lunatic.
The director has managed quite the feat here – he’s channelled the spirit of the first three films while turning up the intensity, making the most of an enlarged scope and keeping Tina Turner well away. Modern audiences are used to spectacle, but we can guarantee that you won’t see anything else quite like this at the cinema this year. James White The film was supposed to start shooting in 2003, but was put on hold until 2009 over security concerns in Namibia.
The bungee jump went horribly wrong.