Movie Review: Mad Max – Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

GENRE: Action, Adventure

DIRECTOR: George Miller

WRITER:George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris

STARS: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton

COUNTRY: Australia/USA

PLOT: Years after the collapse of civilization, the tyrannical Immortan Joe enslaves apocalypse survivors inside the desert fortress the Citadel. When the warrior Imperator Furiosa leads the despot’s five wives in a daring escape, she forges an alliance with Max Rockatansky, a loner and former captive. Fortified in the massive, armored truck the War Rig, they try to outrun the ruthless warlord and his henchmen in a deadly high-speed chase through the Wasteland.


After 18 years of development hell, writer/director George Miller must have been thinking that his Mad Max franchise would never get its rebirth, but it has and one thing is for sure ‘the world belongs to the mad!

 

The beauty of Fury Road isn’t just in the simple but engaging story or the fine performances from a well picked cast. The beauty comes from the amazing world that Miller has created with his very able Cinematographer John Seal and visionary Production Designer Colin Gibson. Whilst Seal came out of retirement to shoot a new farewell movie in saturated shades of yellow, red and burnt orange, Gibson devised futuristic yet low-fi sets and some of the most amazing movie vehicles you will ever see. Add this to Miller’s eccentric punk-western characters and ability to convey the speed of the chase without losing any of the detail and you have a perfect recipe for one of the best action films of modern times.

 

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Fury Road used over 150 stunt performers including Cirque du Soleil acrobats and Olympic athletes.

 

The film is no more than a single chase scene across what one assumes is a post-apocalyptic Australia, as Max and an escaped hareem flee from the evangelical tyrant Immortan Joe. But it is the the balletic brutality of the violence and ferocity of the action that will keep you glued to the screen for at least the first forty-five minutes.

 

There are wonderful performances all round, but special praise should be given to the skin-headed Charlize Theron as the tough as rusty nails Furiosa and English actor Nicholas Hoult, better known as the kid from About a Boy, who’s performance as Nux the War Boy is played with great pathos and humour. Poster boy Tom Hardy plays the action scenes very well, but it is testament to the quality of the film when I say that he was the worst thing about Fury Road as he struggled with his psuedo-Australian accent.

 

The only aspect that I wasn’t wowed by was the night time shots. These were filmed in bright sunlight and then colour-altered to give them dark skies and  a platinum glow. For me though this gave the shots a comic book feel and was too far removed from the colour saturated reality of the day time scenes.

 

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All of the vehicles and even The Doof Warrior’s crazy guitar are fully functional as the film utilised around 90% practical effects and only 10% CGI.

 

Miller actually produced two early cuts of the movie, but I am glad that the focus groups were much more impressed by the final 18 rated film rather than the sanitised PG version. There are two further finished cuts of the film, one in black and white and the other with no dialogue and just JXL’s excellent score. Miller has stated that he believes the black and white version to be the definitive option and it is thought that this may one day get a theatrical release of its own. Two further Mad Max sequels have already been planned (with Hardy stating that his attachment will actually run to a fourth film) and after Fury Road, I can’t wait to see where Max is heading next.

Review by Gordon Sinclair.



Second Opinion

“In some respects I agree completely with Gordon’s opinion of the film. The world created by George Miller and his crew looks spectacular, and the awards for cinematography, costumes and production design that it has been nominated for would be thoroughly deserved. My problem with the film is that while it is full of style, there’s very little substance. The story is virtually non-existent, and for me the relentless action became boring due to the lack of emotional engagement with the characters, who I found myself caring very little about. I also found Tom Hardy mostly forgettable as Max, which isn’t a good sign for the character the film is named after.

Fury Road is undoubtedly one of the best looking action films ever made, but is two hours of non-stop action really enough to warrant the accolades it has continued to receive?” 3.5/5

Second opinion review by Mat Corne.


 

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