Mad Max: Fury Road Director: George Miller
Writer(s): George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated R | 120 Minutes
Release Date: May 15, 2015
“Oh, what a day! What a lovely day!”
Mad Max: Fury Road is nothing short of a goddamn masterpiece. This is an epic of grease, gunpowder, and gasoline – a feminist, post-apocalyptic Western on wheels, all shiny and chrome. This is action cinema in its purest, most exhilarating form.
Co-written and directed by George Miller, Fury Road finds The Road Warrior himself, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), pursued by Warboys, a bloodthirsty clan of marauders under the command of the tyrannical Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). The leather-clad maniacs capture Max and haul him off to the Citadel, a massive stronghold where the warlord rules over the poor, sickly wretches of the wasteland.
Within the Citadel, Max becomes a blood bag for Nux (Nicholas Hoult), a wounded Warboy. Max hangs upside down, his blood draining into Nux, who wants nothing more than to die a glorious soldier’s death and be ushered into shiny, chrome-colored Valhalla.
Meanwhile, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Immortan Joe’s faithful general, is leading a supply run to Gasoline Town and the Bullet Farm when she takes her caravan on an unexpected detour through the wasteland.
Hidden within the bowels of her War Rig are Immortan Joe’s five wives sex slaves. Once Joe discovers that Furiosa has fled with his prized breeding stock, the mad tyrant sends his Warboys into battle. And because Max is tethered to Nux, he’s taken along for the ride – strapped to the front of a Rat Fink Hot Rod from Hell.
Revving engines and spinning tires, bellowing flames and twisted metal, Mad Max: Fury Road is one massive, deadly chase through the desert. As Joe’s cutthroat speed freaks pursue Furiosa, Max allies himself with the fearless one-armed warrior to secure his freedom.
Together they must outrun Cadillac tanks, turbocharged motorcycles, and all matter of gas-powered killing machines on the Fury Road, a dangerous stretch of desert riddled with obstacles and enemies. Their mission: to deliver Joe’s wives – Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton – to The Green Place, a mythic land ruled by a tribe of warrior women.
George Miller’s fourth installment in the Mad Max franchise is a deranged symphony of destruction. Before penning the screenplay, Miller used 3,500 storyboard panels to choreograph the mayhem – and it’s that dedication to madness that makes Fury Road the best action film since Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It’s pulse-pounding adventurous filmmaking that delivers on more than just explosions and head-on collisions – there’s a thematically rich narrative with great characters, too.
Throughout the film the question is asked, “Who killed the world?” The answer, of course, is men. Men did this to the world – and the women of the apocalypse have had enough of their shit. “We are not things” is the battle cry, and Furiosa is the bad-ass who steals Joe’s possessions and leads them to the promised land.
As Furiosa, Charlize Theron commands the screen. Like Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley or Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, Furiosa refuses to be anything other than equal to men. She wields a rifle with a robotic arm and drives a big rig through hellish sandstorms, all to help her fellow woman.
And then there’s Tom Hardy’s Max. Max isn’t the savior of these women – he’s simply an ally to the cause. It’s Furiosa who is the real hero here. What I love about Hardy’s take on the character is how world-weary and beaten down by the world he is. Dialogue is scarce, but Hardy’s face tells the story. Haunted by his turbulent past, Max is a good man who has been battered and smashed beyond repair. Hunted by monsters, the feral Max has been driven mad by the things he’s had to do to survive.
Together, Max and Furiosa make for one Hell of a team, and there’s a great dynamic between them, the wives, and Nicholas Hoult’s Nux as they attempt to outstrip the evil warlord Joe. Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toecutter in 1979’s Mad Max, gives us an iconic bad guy in Immortan Joe. Like The Road Warrior‘s Lord Humungus, this guy is an all-time evil bad-ass with a seriously scary look. Joe wears a gas mask with horse teeth bolted to the front of it, and vacuum pipes running to bellows around his neck. He’s the apocalyptic Outback version of Darth Vader, complete with scary breathing sounds and an army of white-and-black soldiers to carry out his bidding.
Mad Max: Fury Road is the movie of the summer, and one of the best films of 2015. This is bold, adventurous filmmaking of the highest order. Miller’s film is the reason we go to the movies – to be transported to far-off worlds with fascinating characters who speak to the truths of our own existence. Fury Road is as every bit satisfying as it is unhinged, and I can’t wait to see what Miller shows us next.