I’ve been working on my Worth Watching May edition, where I was originally intending to share my thoughts on Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). But I couldn’t contain my gushing to acceptable lengths. So here is a ‘short long’ review of Miller’s crackerjack film.
What a great fuckin movie Mad Max: Fury Road is. Such a radical departure from basically everything else, it’s a little hard to talk about. Almost plotless, yet with great stakes, speaking to the quality of the writing. It dispenses with exposition almost entirely and manages to tell everything it needs through action. It’s a rip roaringly feminist ride and fearless about showing the human body in all its forms, which is definitely something to be celebrated. Miller is clearly an artist unwilling to compromise and man it shows. The downside is that he does not make anywhere near enough films. The upside is that when he does, they turn out like this.
Basically everything is pitch perfect, especially stylistically. The film looks amazing, but also original. It’s not Hollywood sheen, it’s Miller doing whatever the fuck he wants and it looking like some apocalyptic comic book splash page dreamscape. There’s still the practical effects bite. But CGI is blended in seamlessly and elevates the breakneck action. This allows stunts that could never be pulled off safely in practical terms to make it onscreen, without ever falling into the Fast and the Furious trap of veering into sheer silly impossibility. That willingness to embrace technology whilst still recognising the benefits that these films have always garnered from the crushing physicality of practical effects is one choice that a lot of directors would not have been able to make. And it is perhaps the most important one to the success of the film. Theron’s Imperator Furiosa and Hoult’s Nux characters are ones for the ages and it’s the former that drives the plot, setting the events in motion. She is a character that little girls will want to be. At least once they are allowed to see the film. Hardy’s Max is works well as an almost wordless foil to her leadership.
Verdict: You have already seen this right? Miller has returned to the series after all these years and made a better film than any of the others. More please. Longneck of Melbourne Bitter