By Michael Klafatis (Stoke on Trent)mad-max-fury-road-21


Stuck in development hell as early as 1997 with filming supposed to commence in 2001 and again in 2003, but it was postpone because of the September 11 attack , the Iraq war and because its director George Miller was preoccupied with directing Happy Feet and Happy Feet Two, so when it was announce that Mad Max will be release this year after a decade of delay and without Mel Gibson reprising his iconic role as Max Rockatansky, a lot of people were skeptical but fear not Mad Max fans the film it far exceeds any critics or fan expectations.

“As the world fell, each of us, in our own way, was broken. It was hard to know who was more crazy … me or everyone else” Tom Hardy’s voice-over introduce us to the world of post-apocalyptic future, where there is lack of water and gasoline which has caused the earth to go sour and started gang wars for the monopoly of water and gas. After the voiceover Max is captured by the War Boys, pale bold-headed scavengers who have a fanatical devotion to brutal patriarch Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who also played the Toecutter in the first Mad Max) who promise them that they will arrive to Valhalla shiny and chrome if they stay loyal to him. Max is taken to the mountain where Immortan Joe resides, they tattoo his back and he becomes a blood-bag for Nux (Nicholas Hoult) who desires to die “gloriously in the fury road”, on the way he also delivers the best lines in the film like “Oh, what a day! What a lovely day! “. But the story really kick off when one of Joe lieutenant named Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron with short hair and a robotic arm), makes a detour and goes east rather than go to Gas Town for supplies, with her in the War Rig are Immortan Joe’s five prized breeders (one of them is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a surprisingly good performance) and they are heading towards Furiosa birthplace called “The Green Place”.

As Immortan Joe discovers Furiosa’s betrayal he start to pursue her with his armada of War Boys and Max strap in front of Nux’s car, but when they are close to the War Rig they encounter a sandstorm, which is filmed in vivid yellow and red, this sequence is one of the most captivating and mesmerizing ever put on celluloid, and it bring to mind the landscape paintings of J.M.W. Turner especially light and colour (Goethe Theory) and rain, steam and speed which are both bathed in luminous yellow , red and orange colour. The cinematography is quiet astounding, as we see vehicles getting blown into smithereens in the belly of the sandstorm that a part of me wishes that could witness it in reality but it would be probably the last thing I would have ever seen before I would have gone to Valhalla. The end of the sandstorm finds Furiosa and Max forging an alliance for their survival against Immortan Joe’s wrath.

Tom Hardy creates a character who is haunted by his past, a feral animal who only articulates 20 words all thought the film and George Miller reinforce this notion by having Hardy chained and wear a muzzle for half of the duration of the film, but the film belongs to Charlize Theron as Furiosa, who manage to overshadow Max, as she is a much tougher character and more relatable and Theron manages to create a complex character, who in a male dominated world is respected and feared. Furiosa is the heart and soul of the film as she is one of the few humane characters of the film who does not seek destruction but hope.

Mad Max is light in plot but heavy in action and the action works so well because there is limited use of CGI but abundance use of practical effect, stunts and makeup that make the film look more naturalistic and the action more believable. But that is not the only audacious element that George Miller has injected Mad Max with that makes it unique amidst the barrage of blockbusters that dominate the summer season, but also because he shot it with highly saturated hues which is unprecedented for a post-apocalyptic film, as a post- apocalyptic world supposed to be bleak, desolate and hopeless, that is the reason it’s always been shot with desaturated colours. But do not be fooled by the bright colours because the film it still retain its bleak themes found in the other Mad Max films like nihilism, anarchy and moral decadence but there is poetry to be found as the camera is always perpetuating without lingering in a shot for too long and with minimum exposition we learn most about the characters from their deeds

Verdict: With some critics calling it the film of the year, George Miller managed to create the best blockbuster film of the summer by evoking a sense of sadness through vehicular mayhem, which made other blockbusters look tame by comparison.

Rating: 5/5

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