Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
Ten years in the making, the latest Mad Max instalment blazes into cinemas this month with a resounding bang. Forget The Avengers, forget Transformers, forget every other action movie you’ve ever seen (because chances are, they weren’t that good). And get ready for George Miller to change the game.
Mad Max: Fury Road blows every other action movie out of the water. Michael Bay better get on this and learn something about how to make a film and the world will be a better place for it. There is little CGI here, with 80% of the film reportedly real practical effects and stunts. Every technical aspect is flawless. Colin Gibson’s production design and Shira Hockman and Jacinta Leong’s art direction make for a brutally beautiful film, enhanced by rapid fire editing by Margaret Sixel, glorious cinematography by John Seale, and crazy-arse costume design by Jenny Beavan. The score by Junkie XL is magnificent and one of my favourites in some time. It’s difficult to even comprehend the magnitude of what unfolds on screen, and George Miller’s vision is just absolutely ridiculous in the best possible way. Who else would have a hard-core rocker jamming on a flame-throwing guitar out the front of a truck? NO ONE.
I’m not one to usually enjoy a film that is pretty light on in the screenplay department (the whole film is basically just one big crazy drive across the desert), but Mad Max: Fury Road produces such an invigorating assault on the senses that it gets away with it. That’s not to say there aren’t some intriguing ideas in there about post-apocalyptic society, and a bunch of strong, female characters led by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) elevates the film to even higher levels. Despite its title, Furiosa is the true lead of Mad Max: Fury Road, and it’s damn bloody brilliant seeing a massively well-received film with a character like hers. She is a total bad-arse, but one with humility and vulnerability. THANK YOU GEORGE MILLER FOR BEING SO AWESOME. I didn’t think you could improve upon tap-dancing penguins but by Jove, you have.
Charlize Theron is sublime in all of her fiery intensity and this is no doubt one of her best roles to date. Tom Hardy is one of the best actors of his generation and though Max has barely any dialogue, and could have perhaps even been a bit of a bore in someone else’s hands, he kills it. Mel Gibson, eat your heart out. Nicholas Hoult as War Boy, Nux, is like you’ve never seen him before and he too aces it. A host of Aussie faces pop up in supporting roles, including the likes of Richard Carter, Angus Sampson, and John Howard who engages in some nipple stroking (no, not him, the other one). Australian musician, iOta gets the best gig as The Doof Warrior, literally blazing out guitar riffs in manic fashion. It’s a pleasure seeing all of these local faces, but even in a film as insane as this one, the most ridiculous part of the whole thing has to be the sight of Megan Gale emerging naked out of the sand dunes.
As someone who isn’t overly into the action genre (or car chases), even I have to admit that Mad Max: Fury Road is hands down brilliant. It is without a doubt an utterly remarkable feat of film-making that will leave viewers in awe. (And you don’t need to have seen the previous films). See it in 3D and buckle your seatbelts for one hell of a ride.