CC November Masthead
MadMaxFeature

Movie review – Mad Max: Fury Road

Ros Hull

In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland. IMDb

For the readers who have not met me – Hi, I’m Ros and I’m from the 80s. I saw all the original Max films at the cinema, I am so old I remember when Mel Gibson was hot – and I am here to tell you that this film is a better film than Beyond Thunderdome or Max II … and at least as good as the original.

Which is like saying Daniel Craig is a better James Bond than Sean Connery (he is but it just isn’t cricket to say so).

This is a film that should not work. It is insane. It is basically a two-hour car chase with ludicrously pimped out cars and trucks and, for some reason, a rock guitarist in red flannel underwear who may not have eyes but does have a flamethrower … incorporated into his guitar … which he plays whilst strapped into an aerialist’s rig … on the front of a truck which is pretty much a whacking great engine, all the loudspeakers in the world and those Japanese drummers that treat drumming as an extreme sport.

See what I mean?

And yet (I am a little hesitant to make this statement) I think this Mad Max will go down as one of the greatest Australian films ever made. I did not lose interest for one second of the two-hour running time.

Read this article for more on the madness behind creating and actually making this film. I do not know who in Hollywood let George Miller get away with the things he did but I am glad. For here we have a truly original and unashamedly Australian extreme, in-your-face, action film. Made even more insane when you realise that the majority of stunts are ‘in camera’, real world stunts and not computer generated. I think at least some of the stunt men must have trained with Cirque de Soleil.

Insane.

It couldn’t be crazier – but wait, there’s more.

Mad Max is about empowering and powerful women. Yep, the blokiest franchise in the world is all about the girls. Max is the catalyst, almost by accident. This story becomes part of his road to redemption, so sort of continuing on from Thunderdome, but it reinforces the theme of that film: Max can only find a measure of peace in helping others, never peace for himself.

And George Miller lets those others, particularly Charlize Theron as Furiosa, be the stars. She is wonderful, a force of nature – damaged, but a force of nature. Nicholas Hoult adds to his CV of interesting heroes/anti-heroes as does Zoë Kravitz and (surprisingly) Rosie Huntington-Whitely – so much better here than in Transformers. However it is not just these women but the idea of women, of birth, rebirth, nurturing and life that is (shockingly) the centre of this petrolhead fest.

Don’t underestimate the revs, the irreverent humour or the male posturing – it is all there but there is a higher ideal at work as well. Tom Hardy (Max) apparently publicly apologised to George Miller after the Cannes screening – during filming he could not see what the whole would be like and was simply blown away by the result. He has been taking his stunt man along on his press junkets for the same reason. His stunt double did the bulk of the work and Hardy is keen for others to recognise that.

Well done George Miller – one man’s vision of one man’s journey and the unlikely heroes he meets along the way.

Ros Hull

Ros saw Star Wars and immediately wanted to fly the Millenium Falcon. Unable to do that she became a Jill-of-all-trades as her army husband whirled her around the world – and back to Canberra 10 years ago. She has worked in public programs and museum education ever since. She gained an MA in writing whilst getting two daughters through high school - both are now at university and undeniably fabulous (according to her). She can worry as an Olympic sport so she sees lots of movies instead. More about the Author

Handmade Christmas Leaderboard