Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
In a post-apocalyptic world with scarce resources, haunted loner Max (Hardy) has to reluctantly join forces with a group of women led by Imperator Furiosa (Theron) trying to escape a relentless regime led by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), and so a relentless battle for survival across the baron and deadly wasteland begins.
Cinema is (arguably) above everything else, as a source of entertainment, and while George Miller’s Mad Max sequel/ reboot may certainly be very thin on plot, it certainly delivers on sheer entertainment. With exposition and character development (wisely) kept to a bare minimum, the entire two hour narrative is just one constant battle for survival as Max, his female companions and Nicholas Hoult are relentlessly pursued by a bunch of nutters in a constant barrage of insane set pieces.
With a supposed budget of $150 million at his disposal, George Miller (who turned 70 this year) has outrageous fun as he gets the budget to put together his bonkers vision for post-apocalyptic Australia (thought the bizarre combination of accents suggest it could be absolutely anywhere) and though at 120 minutes there is very much the occasional feeling of battle fatigue as things do sometimes feel a little unnecessarily repetitive and overlong in places, Fury Road is just a bonkers blast of pure entertainment.
The minimal dialogue of Fury Road only further enhances the feeling that it is at times like a silent film, with the often sped up violence and action sequences making the whole film feel this way, and it does somehow work! Enhancing this is Tom Hardy’s central performance; though his accent is certainly all over the place, his superbly minimalist and physical performance is exactly what the film needs, fitting with both the film’s visual style and Max’s (sort of) arc, and it provides us with a protagonist to route for, even if we are sometimes not entirely sure why.
Many have commented on the gender politics of Fury Road, and though it does most certainly pass the Bechtel test, considering the story and how the female characters are scantily clad, the film’s gender politics are a little mixed up and to look into this in too much detail is quite simply a waste of time considering how silly the film is. Theron is certainly solid in her role, but her characters is too serious and generic amongst all the silliness, and though she has a backstory she simply is not as memorable as both Hardy and Nicholas Hoult’s Nux, who also delivers a superbly physical performance and his character has an (almost emotional) arc.
Cinema is of course first and foremost a visual medium, and there is no doubt that George Miller appreciates this fact and with Mad Max: Fury Road takes full advantage of this. With Miller’s direction and camerawork, along with from Margaret Sixel’s bonkers editing and Tom Holkenberg’s (aka Junkie XL) suitably over the top score, Fury Road a film that could certainly have benefitted form being a little shorter, but is completely bonkers entertainment of the highest order.
One big bonkers thrill ride: Mad Max: Fury Road could certainly have done with being a little shorter, but relentless pursuits across post-apocalyptic wastelands have never been so much insane fun!