A film that thrives on the atmospheric world it creates and the momentum that drives it, Mad Max Fury Road has surpassed many movie-goers expectations. Fury Road covers several bases very well, the film is artistically remarkable in places, it creates nail biting tension masterfully and consistently and maintains a constant sense of speed and momentum which makes it an almost unique experience.
There are few scenes in the film which do not centre around a fast moving convoy or vehicle, (or at the very least someone running quickly,) the constant sense of speed, danger and tension this creates is powerful and is used cleverly throughout the story. One memorable scene sees Max and his compatriots in the pitch black, attempting to get their stuck vehicle out of the mud, while a gun obsessed maniac hurtles towards them in his own truck, sinisterly shouting ‘SING, SING’ to the sub-machineguns he fires in their direction. This intelligently created mixture of tension and momentum is almost ever present and makes Fury Road an edge of your seat experience, despite its reasonably long runtime. The villains themselves are instrumental in creating this tension, chalk skinned scavengers hunt Max wherever he goes and make the opening sequence a dark and shocking experience.
As a result it’s well worth seeing Mad Max Fury Road at the cinema, rather than waiting for television and DVD release.
On a visual level Fury Road is stunning. Director George Miller, in making the film, made key decisions: firstly to make the film as colourful as possible. Arguably this was key in differentiating Fury Road from other post-apocalyptic films, many of which put people off with their notably drab settings, (consider The Road, or The Book of Eli). Secondly Miller stressed the importance of the art direction within Fury Road– and it shows. As a result it’s well worth seeing Mad Max Fury Road at the cinema, rather than waiting for television and DVD release.
Another notable aspect of Mad Max is its emphasis on feminism through the female characters. While Max is the titular character, Charlize Theron’s ‘Furiosa’ is just as important to the plot and is arguably portrayed as being more capable. Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues was consulted during the making of the film to aid the portrayal of the films female characters. In an un-expected turn, the objectification of women is a theme that, in some respects, holds the film together. (Max and Furiosa’s mission essentially becomes to free the oppressed wives of a tyrannical ruler.) That said, the film is far from preachy or political and doesn’t get caught up in any sort of debate- instead presenting the issues as a central theme alongside a powerful female character.
Tom Hardy’s performance is note-worthy too, despite it being a straight-forward role in essence. A slight lack of dialogue does still leave him a lot to convey physically and he rises to the task, altogether though Hardy and Theron do a fantastic job as the hub of the film. Some may accuse their characters of being slightly two dimensional, but given the constraints of the plot and genre of Fury Road , the pair excel and suit their roles perfectly.
Overall Mad Max Fury Road is more impressive than most would have dared to predict. Amazing visual effects enhance the films already amazing backdrop (filmed on location in Namibia,) and drip fed suspense combines perfectly with the immersive and desolate world that Max speeds, destructively through. Even given the gigantic barrage of re-makes we’re about to experience, this is likely to remain a highlight.
By George Storr