Entertainment Movies Mad Max: Fury Road is the best Aussie movie ever
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Mad Max: Fury Road is the best Aussie movie ever

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Film-Review-Mad-Max-Fury-Road-5-StarThere’s really only one word to describe George Miller’s long-awaited Mad Max sequel: ‘Visceral’.

If that fails to accurately articulate that feeling you get leaving the cinema where all your muscles ache and your heart is still racing, then ‘insane’ is a close second.

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What Miller has managed to accomplish 36 years after his original apocalyptic game changer is nothing short of legendary – a true epic that Australia can legitimately call “our own”.

Those who haven’t seen the original (like this writer) shouldn’t be deterred. The film stands comfortably apart from its three predecessors.

We find Max, played by British actor Tom Hardy, still roaming the dystopian desert, running from his past, his future and pretty much anything else he comes across in this vast expanse of nothingness.

Fate brings him to Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a woman looking to rescue herself and a band of beautiful “breeders” from the hideous, hulking overlord ruling this post-apocalyptic world.

And so follows a car chase so epic the movie can best be described as “Speed on speed”.

Scar-faced bandits ride revved-up gasoline machines through looming dust clouds, stabbing, shredding and screaming at each other to the point where any moment of stillness feels like a glorious reprieve.

It’s violent and disturbing (a graphic abortion scene is particularly traumatic) but it’s pure spectacle and you won’t want to tear your eyes away for a second.

Those who can’t appreciate the ripping plot or elaborate action will at least recognise that this is a sheer feat of filmmaking, the trophy child and masterpiece of Miller, who has been open about the long process behind the finished product.

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as Max and Furiosa.
Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as Max and Furiosa.

The movie was set to commence filming in Broken Hill, New South Wales, before biblical rains transformed the area from sandy desert to botanical gardens.

So, they packed up shop and moved the mostly-Aussie crew to Namibia, where conditions were harsh and costs were high, to kick off a year-and-a-half behind schedule.

It was worth the wait.

The movie is astonishingly ambitious and it’s lucky for us that Miller held out so long to make it. Any lesser technology would not have done it justice.

Mad Max is a lone traveller fighting for survival in a hostile world.
Mad Max is a lone traveller fighting for survival in a hostile world.

The weak link (if there is one) is Hardy, who at times appears to channel Bane, his infamous Dark Knight character.

Batman fans will know this means a substantial amount of mumbling.

You don’t get a real sense of his madness, but you do root for him, albeit without a real understanding of exactly why.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t really matter, because this movie isn’t about Max.

Fury Road is a curious beast: a film coming from a well-established, male-centric franchise that’s actually all about women.

As Furiosa, Theron is captivating, displaying a delicate mix of fierceness and utter fragility.

She and her travelling sisterhood are perhaps the best symbol of female empowerment ever to hit the big screen.

Taking their fate into their own hands, they fight back against their male captors, spouting phrases like “we are not things”.

These aren’t damsels in distress, they’re beautiful, butt-kicking suffragettes of a sort.

(L-R): Abbey Lee Kershaw, Zoe Kravitz, Courtney Eaton, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Riley Keough play the wives.
(L-R): Abbey Lee Kershaw, Zoe Kravitz, Courtney Eaton, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Riley Keough play the wives.

Interestingly, Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler was a consultant on the movie, indicating that Miller’s not-so-subtle statement wasn’t entirely coincidental.

Other standouts include Australian model Abbey Lee Kershaw, whose kooky portrayal of ‘The Dag’ provides most of the film’s comic relief, and Nicholas Hoult as crazed war boy Nux.

And you know what? It’s great to hear so many Aussie accents in a blockbuster. I challenge you not to get a teeny bit patriotic.

Nicholas Hoult, Riley Keough and Charlize Theron hit the fury road.
Nicholas Hoult, Riley Keough and Charlize Theron hit the fury road.

On a purely aesthetic level, costume designer Jenny Beavan has done her job with aplomb: the movie looks like something between a Rick Owens runway show and Johnny Depp’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean.

The action scenes are, for lack of a better word, incredible, with everything done on such a grand scale it’s difficult to take it all in.

Insider tip: sit towards the back of the theatre to avoid watery eyes and potential seizures.

The movie is already tipped to become the highest-grossing Australian film of all time, and for good reason.

Don’t be the only person who hasn’t seen it.

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