Directed by: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton
Not a single rustle of popcorn was to be heard in the beat of silence that followed the opening sequence of this movie. I imagine everyone else in the cinema was sitting there as I was, a handful of malteasers raised halfway to my mouth and eyes wide with pure excitement. The only note I managed to write down as we walked out was ‘holy shit’.
This is the fourth installment in George Miller’s Mad Max franchise; the third film starring Mel Gibson came out around 30 years ago. It’s post-apocalyptic action movie set in a stark and barren wasteland ruled by cult leader Immortan Joe, who seems like a pretty terrifying individual. Civilisation as we know it is dead, and the world is fast running out of the necessities of life. Imperator Furiosa goes out on a fuel run to a nearby town but daringly veers off course, as she is escaping to a better place and taking Immortan Joe’s ‘wives’ with her. Max is captured by Joe’s war boys, his crazed and sickly followers, and crosses paths with Furiosa during the madness.
The first thing that hits you in the senses is the sound; it’s incredibly loud and ferocious. It pretty much grabs you by the face and pulls you right into the middle of it, which only adds to the power and excitement of the fast paced story. It also brings more poignancy to the rare moments of quiet throughout the movie. The point in which we first see Immortan Joe’s wives, cleaning themselves off and breaking free of the horrible contraptions they have been shackled with was confronting, coupled with his frenzied and viscous freak out when he realises they are missing, gives you a very grim picture of the horrors they must have faced at his hand without actually showing the audience the abuse.
Whether it was intentional or not, there are definitely some feminist themes weaved into the story. The fact that Furiosa wasn’t a sexy sidekick trailing along behind Max, glistening with sweat yet still looking perfectly clean made me want to jump up and down for joy. She really looked like she had been living there in that dirty, gritty world, and I highly doubt that she gave a damn what she looked like. You also never get the sense that Max is there to play the big macho hero, he just wants to survive and do the best he can. At one point Furiosa uses his shoulder to align a shot, and he is totally cool with that.
Charlize Theron was commanding and powerful as Furiosa, bringing an incredible sense of rage and determination to her character. Plus she had a robot arm, how badass is that? Tom Hardy’s Max is a man of few words, but he is so physical and has such a great sense of body language that you don’t really notice. Also most people would know from watching him play Bane in the last Batman movie, that he is able to convey and incredible amount of emotion through just his eyes and body language, which is no easy feat.
The whole look of the movie is amazing, and there were some truly insane wide shots. One in particular that sticks in my mind featured Max swinging across the screen on a pole with thunderous explosions and an army of vehicles bearing down behind him. All the cars had a different look and were so detailed, and the same can be said for the supporting characters whose costumes ranged from the bizarre to the terrifyingly grotesque. The action sequences were crazy and over the top, but it somehow never veered into silliness. The music, which was cromposed by Junkie XL, married perfectly with the action and visuals and really lifted it to the next level.
There was dirt, grit, brutal action and fierce menacing villains. Everybody was some kind of crazy, and when you consider the world they live in it’s not difficult to see why. Mad Max: Fury Road is so much more than an action movie, it’s an insane and face poundingly awesome work of art. Tom Hardy described it as ‘relentless’ in an interview recently, and that’s exactly what it is, but it’s also incredibly refreshing. I had such high expectations for this, and it completely surpassed them. If you like movies that are really, really, awesome then you’re going to want to see this.