Film Review by Jon E Clist
Mad Max Fury Road
An apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There's Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.
I was having a discussion with some friends after watching Mad Max Fury Road and we kind of decided that between the ages of ten and fifteen is kind of like the golden age of cinema for each of us. The films we first start seeing on the big screen are often what shapes our tastes and certainly become some of the films that stick in our memories firmly for the rest of our lives. For me, one of the films that fits in my golden era was Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. In fact I didn’t watch Mad Max or Mad Max 2 Road Warrior until much later. However characters like Gibson’s Max and Turner’s Aunty Entity or Jedediah the Pilot were so full and colourful that the adventure certainly captivated me as a twelve year old.
So Mad Max Rockatansky is back in the action again. Sure he looks a little different in the form of Tom Hardy, but he is back in the troubled hot seat again. As with most of the previous films it all begins with Max in the middle of a conundrum of sorts. Usually involving chains, imprisonment and mountainous piles of sand. Instead of the reboot being a remake of 1979’s Mad Max, the director George Miller decided that the reboot will take place in the post-apocalyptic Australia, years after the new Max (Hardy) lost his family. Miller did not wish to do a remake or retell the story that had already been told, he wanted new moviegoers to remember Max as a man with nothing to lose after losing his family. Create that desperate feeling of numbness that comes from total loss.
Miller really is a brilliant action based filmmaker and Fury Road is so full of seamless stunts and crazy sequences. Over 80% of the effects seen in the film are real practical effects, stunts, make-up and sets. CGI was used sparingly mainly to enhance the Namibian landscape, remove stunt rigging and for Charlize Theron's left hand which in the film is a prosthetic arm. After George Miller screened some footage at SXSW film festival, a man stood up and asked: "How the hell did you film that!?" That man was none other than director Robert Rodriguez.
As much as I have loved the Australian connection with the filming of the previous films, seeing the final result here, it is plain to see that shooting in Namibia was absolutely the right choice. Yet it wasn’t an easy choice in many ways. The movie was almost filmed in 2003 there however the project was put on hold due to security concerns related to trying to film in Namibia, because the United States and many other countries had tightened travel and shipping restrictions. Then with the start of the Iraq War the film was abandoned until 2009.
Hardy is a solid choice as Max ad brings his grittiness similar to that of his Batman character of Bain. In fact there were a few moments when his deep mumbly Bain voice sneaks out. I guess this also is a bit of a visual thing as for quite a bit of the film Max wears a muzzle. However it is the villain that wears the Bain styled breathing apparatus. As with much of the previous films Max’s dialogue is sparse which adds immense weight to this character of the loner. On a side note it is good to hear that on April 3, 2015, Tom Hardy announced he would sign on for 3 more Mad Max films.
Then we have Charlize Theron in what has to be described as another great weird character from her already illustrious film career. From her roles in Monster, North Country through to many others, Theron has not been afraid to mix it up and get a little dirty. Here we see her symbolically dirtying up her face with engine grease to appear meaner and it is the little attentions to details such as that, which make for a great film.
By far one of the best action films this year that not only entertains, thrills but also has you asking, how did they do that without someone dying. Just brilliant.
Film Releases: 14th May 2015
Rating: R16 – Contains violence and content that may disturb
Duration: 120 minutes
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron & Nicholas Hoult
Director: George Miller (Mad Max, Mad Max 2, Mad Max beyond Thunderdome)
Shot in sequence.
Charlize Theron reportedly shaved her head for the role of Furiosa and as a result had to wear a wig for her role in A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014).
It was originally rumored that Mel Gibson would have a cameo role as a drifter.