Mad Max: Fury Road
Director: George Miller
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whitley, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough
15 years in development hell, a budget north of $150 million, a shoot that lasted nearly 2 years and reported in-fighting between leading man and lady suggested that George Miller’s fourth instalment of the Mad Max franchise would be a disaster. Well that could not be further from the truth – not only has Miller made the best action movie of the year (or possibly the last few years) he’s also changed the landscape for female roles in major Hollywood blockbusters.
The 2 hr film is essentially one long, brutal chase across the desert with Theron as emotionally and physically scarred anti-heroine Furiosa desperate to escape the clutches
of the grotesque, facist leader Immortum Joe. Max (Hardy) ends up along for the ride and together they lead a daring, breathtaking bid for freedom and independence.
Fury Road is exhilarating from start to finish. The action set pieces (relying much more on old fashioned stunt work than CGI) are awe inspiring and the tension barely lets up for the entire running time. More than that the film has unexpected heart and soul in the shape of feminist sub-text that is both unexpected and wholly welcome. Theron is the star of the show, her iconic performance is so affecting because not only is Furiosa entirely resourceful, the character is rooted in reality with her eyes and body language telling her story more poignantly than a thousand words.
Everyone involved in the picture are at the top of their game. Tech aspects and performances are exemplary across the board.
A total triumph.
The title might be Mad Max: Fury Road but this film has Charlize Theron’s Furiosa in the driver’s seat.
Everything about the film is, well, Mad as you might expect. Right from the off we are strapped in for a high-octane ride of car chases across the desolate wasteland of this apocalyptic world and a manic guitar player sound tracking the action that just does not stop!
The frenetic camera movement is synonymous with the mental state of the characters- not only are the crazy mad but they are angry mad; with society and with their situation.
As Charlize Theron has herself stated, this is a feminist action film- perhaps two words that are not usually put together but this film’s female characters prove that you can have a fast paced action film with strong women at the centre. Furiosa is determined to fight back and free herself, and her fellow females from this oppressive world. “We are not objects!” the women cry and damn right! This statement is, unfortunately, so poignant to the world in which we live, where women are still seen by many as possessions and sexual object- yes things are improving but there is a long way to go. This film rubs that fact in our faces with the women being on equal or higher footing than their male counterparts but in no way castrating the male characters. I was pleased to see a film that has men and women working together for a common cause- to bring down the oppressive leader, who has been held up as a God in the eyes of his ‘war children’- and not having to follow a growing trend for all-female or all-male cast but actually having equal roles on both sides.
The world of Mad Max: Fury Road might not be as far removed from our own as we first think: the idea that whomever has the fuel has the power is symbolic of our current economic climate. MMFR goes as far as showing that the person with the water also has the power and control- a very interesting statement about what we are perhaps moving towards in terms of the balance of power in our own world.
Needless to say I loved this film! Action directors *cough* Michael Bay *cough* take note, you do not need to objectify women to make an action movie and appeal to a mass audience.