Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road
So, I went to see the George Miller-directed continuation of the Mad Max series last night, a movie that spent so long wrapped up in production hell that I was worried it would surely be a disappointment when it did come out. I was desperately wrong.
There isn’t a huge amount to say about Mad Max other than “you should see it”- which I will scream directly into your face while standing on top of a spiky car and playing the electric guitar, or something, because George Miller knows how to have fun with his blockbusters dog-goneit. He also knows how to create a stunning aesthetic- I spent maybe the first half hour grinning-actually grinning, in the cinema, like an idiot- because I was so blown away but how spot-on they’d got the look of the thing. Acrid, dusty, and leaving you with that feeling of having to clean under your fingernails, it’s a treat for sci-fi fans bored of the glossy, handsome, sterile future.
If you’ve seen the trailers, you’ll have an idea of what’s coming next: it’s precisely two-hours of a road chase as Charlize Theoron’s Furiosa attempts to outrun the Immortal Joe (played by the original series Toecutter, Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his psychotic, paint-huffing Warboys. Tom Hardy’s Max ends up along for the ride as Furiosa tries to rescue Joe’s handful of beautiful wives from captivity. And yes, it’s violent. Spectacularly so.
This isn’t just violence; this is violence as decadence, this is violence where you’re meant to gorge yourself till your fat and sticky and unable to walk, this is a vertiable Babylon’s Feast of greasy, nasty, delicious shock. With apparently everything done without CGI or green-screen, the action sequences look fantastic- giant war rigs tearing through the arid desert to the sounds of thrumming electric guitar, smashing, exploding, tearing people to shreds. And yeah, while the film does take a bit of a dip whenever we get to the talky stuff (not that there’s much dialogue at all), the performances- particularly Nicholas Hoult’s Nux, a Warboy with a deathwish who winds up joining forces with our heroes (full disclosure: as another addition to Louise’s Big List of Wierd Crushes, I’ve never found Nicholas Hoult more attractive than he was here. See below for how incorrect I am).
But this was Charlize Thereon’s movie, no doubt- her simple, stark, brilliant performance dominated the screen more than the fifty-foot war rig she drove for most of the movie. And yes, this is a spectacularly feminist movie, proof that you don’t have to set out to make a feminist manifesto (or diminish male characters) to score high on that chart. There’s lots I could take apart here-buy me a cocktail, and I will explain to you how it’s a powerful screed on reproductive rights whether you want me to or not- but all I can say is this: Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the most singularly entertaining films I’ve seen in ages, a breathless, aesthetically stunning thrillride that left everyone n the cinema with a swagger in their step, as all good action films should. If you haven’t seen it yet, do it, and if you have, why aren’t me and you discussing it over drinks right now?