Movie review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Directed by George Miller
Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton
Rated R, Sci-Fi, 120 minutes
George Miller’s action-heavy “Mad Max: Fury Road” teems with stunning visuals due to the creativity of writer-director Miller and his collaborators, production designer Colin Gibson and director of photography John Seale. Their pictorial sequences require little dialogue.
What sparse lines do exist clarify the characters’ evolving relationships. Actors able convey changing moods and alliances through body language and facial expressions are cast as leads, while Miller also gives us captivating faces in smaller roles.
In this post-apocalyptic era, ruthless narcissist Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) controls a desert world’s remaining water supply. He and his acolytes comprise a militaristic society living in a matrix of cliff caves. The cave dwellers are Joe’s property. He brands the nape of their necks with a facsimile of his own mask.
Those who are not born to, recruited into or enslaved by this elite faction scrape out a meager existence in the canyons below, awaiting the irregular release of water for their use.
Joe’s army is called War Boys, bluish-white-skinned men and youths surviving in a machismo Viking culture promising their entrance into Valhalla as heroes. Women are designated as milk producers, caregivers or breeders.
A rare exception is Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Immortan’s most trusted general. Shortly after Mad Max is captured and forced to function as a “blood bag;” transfusing Nux (Nicholas Hoult), one of Immortan’s many blood-diseased War Boys; Furiosa and five of Immortan’s breeder wives make a break for freedom in a large, well-fortified war tanker.
Nux joins the pursuit, bringing along his blood supply and Max (Tom Hardy), shackled like a hood ornament to the truck’s grill.
Soon the unlikely pair become allies, throwing their lot in with Furiosa and Joe’s five escaped brides (played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Courtney Eaton and Abbey Lee). While the women benefit from their help, the men are rescued physically and emotionally by the women.
Thirty-five years after George Miller’s low budget “Mad Max” film first appeared, Miller’s vision of this story has evolved with this reboot. Here, Furiosa and the five wives are the film’s true heroes, while Max is a warrior serving their cause.
The muscle-car action, blended with steam-punk technology, contains enough visual surprises to please both video gamers and fans nostalgic for the original.
Much of the film’s action, centered around cars and tricky driving, hits the same sweet spot located by street racers in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Miller, now 70, has established a breakneck pace with this reboot that should ensure his franchise is reborn again and again and again.
Who says seniors aren’t hip?