Monday, 18 May 2015

Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

2015 Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

I had only ever experienced Mad Max films as background noise in my house as a child, they were never really my era and i didn't actively seek them out to watch in later life. The trailers for Fury Road however really spoke to me and I was very excited to go and see this re-imagining.

Fury Road started off loud and finished even louder, this film rarely let up from it's breakneck pace but did slow down briefly at important points. The decision to make the whole feature essentially a chase movie was a risk/reward strategy i felt, one that for me ultimately paid off. The pace felt like a vehicle in itself, constantly moving up a gear, faster and faster and you were just waiting for that big finale!
The real triumph of this film are the practical effects in the action sequences. CGI was used but not relied upon, it was the icing on very physical cake so to speak. When cars smashed into each other and rolled over, or motor bikes did huge jumps you didn't need to feel convinced. This is because it was all happening in real time, Tom Hardy reacting to being smacked by a truck was actually Tom hardy being smacked by a truck. Fury Road had such an incredible sense of physicality and weight to it that you could almost smell the engine grease, I was just in awe the whole time!

Another triumph in the visual department was the sheer variety of locations in the film, it was amazing what they did with a colour palette that only consisted of brown and various metallic colours. I felt like a went on some kind of twisted safari during the film, each location different than the last yet more sinister. Every new area gave you a great sense of progression and ratcheted up the tension.

Acting wise Mad Max featured some of the best performances iv seen in along time within this genre of film. Tom Hardy was able to play the role of a tormented soul so convincingly. A great many of the baddies in the film were portrayed as screaming lunatics thirsty for blood, but Max's madness was more subtle. We saw the hero tormented by flashbacks, stutter and occasionally shake which was sometimes even more unsettling to watch than the villains. George Miller paid great attention to making the action loud but the acting of the heroes much more reigned in. Charlize Theron as Furiosa was by far my favourite, she was able to convey so many emotions by a single look or turn of the head. You knew exactly what she was thinking and almost felt her pain throughout the hellish journey. Nicholas Hoult provided the comic relief in the form of Nux, a baddie turned goodie still dying for  recognition from his estranged leader. Nux delivers perhaps the most memorable line in the film by yelling 'what a day, what a lovely day!' as he barrels head on into the heart of a sandstorm.

There was so much attention to detail in the set pieces, costume design and vehicles that I am sure I will be discovering and geeking out over new things for a long time to come and I look forward to each and every rewatch. Each enemy faction were so different and you could tell them aprt from there unique body armour, customised vehicles or just the way they acted. It was a spectacle to see huge set pieces like the citadel in action, the giant water wheels and creepy musicians made for some great background viewing. It felt like George Miller had almost created an entire world with all the different factions and characters, it is one I will happily visit all over again as soon as I get the chance.

The Verdict

Mad Max: Fury Road is a beautiful and carefully made action adventure, the sheer scale, level of detail and exceptional performances by it's leads will please new and old fans alike. This is a modern masterpiece and one that should not be missed, easily my most enjoyed film of this year to date.


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