It’s been 30 years since Mad Max disappeared into the wasteland one (seemingly) last time. In the resulting void, the landscape of commercial blockbuster cinema has transformed; its artificiality increasingly distracting rather than escapist and the joy of the unexpected replaced with the air of the predictable, and at its worse, suffocatingly stale. Now, Mad Max is back once again with a vengeance in a film that stands as one of the most iconic and absolutely unique to emerge in recent times, a vision of raw intensity made with artful attention and precision, anchored by nuanced performances and a commitment to its own sense of the absurd.

Trying to confine Mad Max Fury Road to a single defining description is almost impossible. As a film, it is bursting at the seams with an indefatigable sense of energy and purpose; every image is alive with both thought and kinetic explosiveness. This is pure spectacle, a circus of visceral wonders that fearlessly throws the audience into a complete world of chaos, with no respect for restraint. Often the word indulgence is used in relation to cinema as a negative, but here the indulgence of Miller to commit totally to the brilliance of the world and the breakneck momentum of his film elevates it to a place unlike anything that has come before in terms of mainstream action cinema. The sights and sounds of the hulking machines as they charge through the barren landscapes, colliding in a whirlwind of twisted metal is truly something to behold, leaving you stunned as the images blazing across the screen. Structurally, the film is a masterpiece of art design, direction and editing; each individual element comes together into an absolute harmony, reinforcing the overall tone of mania and visual outlandishness. In the modern culture of ever more serious blockbusters, Mad Max Fury Road exists in its own space of sheer inventiveness, refreshingly dedicated to a form of relentless, unapologetic cinema.

However, as much as the film exists as a delight of pure sensory overload, the characterisation at the heart of it is what allows it to not break under the weight of its own piercing momentum. At the centre of this mad world stands the figure of Max, a figure of stoic heroism, but constantly troubled by the demons that haunt him, and in such a crucially important role, Tom Hardy delivers a performance of quiet magnitude. This is not a role full of inspirational speeches or grand emotional outpouring, it’s in the subtle glances and the moments he does finally decide to raise his voice that the character is fully realised. Alongside Hardy, Charlize Theron steals the show as Imperator Furiosa, a character who rivals Max Rockatansky for iconic power in her solemn strength, emotional journey and design; while Nicolas Hoult delivers a performance of beautiful mania as Nux, a war boy gone rogue. In fact, it’s hard to think of a performance that doesn’t shine in the world that Miller has built, a world in which the term ‘epic’ almost doesn’t do it justice, a haunting landscape where only the hardest survive. It feels like the film Miller has been waiting to film all of his life, and not only does he deliver, it explodes onto the screen with a force unparalleled.

Mad Max Fury Road is the culmination of an idea born nearly 40 years ago, by a maverick filmmaker who was willing to push the envelope for his vision; an idea that has evolved in the winds of myth and the dream of a cinema past. Its uncanny, relentless drive is visionary in its achievement and the commitment to a spectacle of absolute insanity is breath-taking and affective in a truly physical manner, coursing through your very nervous system as it assaults your senses. Not only is it the boldest film of the year; when the dust settles, it may stand as the blockbuster of a generation: a fuel injected turbo charged monster of a film. Find the biggest screen, strap yourself in and prepare for an experience unlike any other.

Movie Review: Mad Max - Fury Road
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About The Author

Matthew Hammond is a full time cinephile, specializing in cult, art house and 1980’s cinema. While film is his overwhelming passion, Matthew has been known to enjoy comic books, Sherlock Holmes stories and a good film related T-shirt. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments: mattpaul61@o2.co.uk