Verdict: 4 / 5
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is the fourth instalment in the ‘Mad Max’ franchise. After thirty years, original creator George Miller returns to the directorial chair. It stars Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky, Nicholas Hoult as Nux and Charlize Theron as Furiosa. The first three films helped Mel Gibson become a star and George Miller gained critical acclaim for his post apocalyptic trilogy.
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ seems to be a sequel and possibly a reboot. Whatever it is it returns to the desert wastelands of Australia (filmed mostly in Namibia). In the distant future civilization has collapsed and humanity is desperately dependant on small quantities of gasoline and water to survive. Max is captured by bandits and taken to a place called the Citadel. The populace in and around the Citadel is ruled by the tyrant known as Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Burne). Immortan has a foot clan of crazed soldiers known as War Boys, led by Imperator Furiosa.
Furiosa leads a party of War Boys to collect fuel from Gas Town, a refinery controlled by Joe. Once on the road Furiosa deviates from Joe’s orders and makes an escape. Later we learn that Furiosa is smuggling some cargo away from the Citadel. Without this nugget of information the film can be very confusing in the beginning. A massive chase led by Immortan Joe and his War Boys ensues. The film is simply one long car chase through the desert interspersed with only the most minimal of dialogue. Miller let’s the action do most of the talking. His stunning visuals and amazing chase scenes negate any need for too much exposition. Character development progresses through brief flashbacks, fight scenes and body language.
Despite the lack of story ‘Fury Road’ is packed with themes that generate discussion and debate. A strong feminist streak runs through the film resulting in interesting role reversals. Miller highlights the exploitation of women held captive by patriarchy. The War Boys stands as representations of male dominace, the blood lust and the culture of death and war that surrounds men. Whether Miller goes too far with these concepts is all up for discussion but ultimately they are secondary to the beautiful and crushing brutality of the film. With jaw dropping stunts and visuals Miller’s vision of a post apocalyptic world is mesmerizing. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is refreshing and despite not having enough meat in its story and character department seems set to become an instant classic.