Mad Max: Fury Road (Review)

Mad Max: Fury Road currently has a 98% freshness rating and upon seeing the film for yourself, it quickly becomes entirely apparent just why. George Miller's post-apocalyptic drama is loaded with high-octane adrenaline combined with a brilliant critique on the mistreatment of women.

Mild spoilers below.

Tom Hardy stars as the titular Mad Max, but by in large, the film isn't so much about him. In looking at the film on its own, as opposed to stacking it up against it's decades-old prequels, there is little we learn about Max. With only brief flashes of his past and visions of his lost loved ones, much of his story remains a mystery. It is not difficult to argue that the film's true first-lead is that of Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa, whose back-story may not be presented with any live-action shots but is still explored more deeply than Max's. Theron's emotionality is often highly potent, as it simmers just beneath the surface of her tough exterior.

But the strength of Mad Max: Fury Road is not derived from any one single performance. It is a machine in which each and every cog is of the highest calibre. The action sequences are visually stunning, with the very real-explosions and pyro-techniques elevating the scale of the battles fought. While other actions films can often spiral into a comedic mess due to the painfully obvious transitions between lead actors and their stunt doubles, this one makes use of closer shots in the sequences with its lead actors that leave little doubt that this film cast actors who weren't afraid to pull their own weight.

The commentary is ripe in this film, as the antagonist is a totalitarian-dictator who greedily and hedonistically takes multiple wives to be used for breeding as much as his old and rotting body will allow him to. The women who fight for their freedom and to stop him from further perpetrating his misogyny-riddled violence are all allotted their own agency and distinct character traits, even when in the status of supporting character. It's a rare sight to see in films given wide distribution by Hollywood, but we are hopeful that this film can be a trail-blazer for more quality material for women in large blockbusters. 

Hugh Keays-Byrne gives a strong performance as Immortal Joe, with much of his wild rage being present in his gaze. With his face being largely covered, he still played the madness of his character well. Nicholas Hoult is also worthy of recognition, as his ability to play the both manic and vulnerable parts of Nux's journey beautifully. Indeed there is hardly a less-than-stellar performance to be seen in this film, as even the supporting characters are able to make a lasting impression and have a moving story to tell, regardless of their shorter amount of screen time. 

In short, Mad Max: Fury Road is the first film to have me truly excited about the future of film since Snowpiercer. With both of these films, we have large-scale sets to backdrop compelling tales of fighting against totalitarian systems and quality material for more characters than just the white-male lead. This is precisely the sort of film that the industry needed. Don't miss out on this exciting and beautifully crafted piece of art!


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