Today I Watched George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
After a thirty year hiatus a new Mad Max film graces the silver screen. I could not think of a more worthy film to be my first review of a film currently in theaters. Fury Road is like a summation of every previous film in the series, it has the grimness of the original, it has the intensity of Road Warrior, and the insanity of Beyond Thunderdome. I have to appreciate how each Mad Max film until this point has been a unique experience and doubly appreciate how Fury Road manages to take these disparate elements and fuse them into a cohesive whole that is still wholly original in its own right.
Max has found himself recast with Tom Hardy and devolved into a primitive shell of a man; the need to survive has become his every thought and he basically stumbles into the movie against his own will. The real plot concerns Imperator Furiosa (best name ever), played by Charlize Theron, who has liberated the slave wives of Immortan Joe, a powerful warlord. Most of this movie is practically one massive car chase as Furiosa and Max pilot a ‘War-Rig’ while being chased by the most insane collection of apocalyptic vehicles ever assembled. Apparently these vehicles took Miller two years to create and it shows, the practical effects and real vehicles are so incredible to look at the movie would be worth it for this alone.
But Fury Road has much more to it than glorious automotive carnage; it has strong themes of female empowerment, a good message about confronting problems instead of running away from them, and some truly excellent acting throughout. Tom Hardy is pitch perfect as Max, he manages to capture the mannerisms and tics Gibson had perfectly while also making the character his own with his unique expressions and vocal delivery. Charlize Theron delivers an exceptional performance as Furiosa and she treats the role with complete seriousness, which is exactly what it calls for. She has to be a stoic badass but also imbue the character with real humanity which she accomplishes beautifully; she has to handle much of the thematic content of the film so her performance becomes the linchpin holding much of this film together. Finally Nicholas Hoult plays one of the road warrior crazies who becomes a major player as the film goes on and he humanises the wild apocalyptic freaks in a way I was not expecting, I was really impressed.
Fury Road takes these marvelous performances and unites them with incredible action with wickedly slick editing, incredible cinematography, and wildly imaginative sound design. It looks and sounds incredible; you can feel the wasteland in every frame of this film. That this film manages to unite thoughtful character drama and themes with intense action and insane visuals is what makes it a bonafide modern classic. 5/5