Friday, May 15, 2015
Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
A 'Furious' Action Pic That Is A Feast For The Eyes Of The Visual and Cinephilic Imagination
Welp, I guess Christopher Nolan isn't the only filmmaker that proves genre films can be masterful works of art as George Miller creates a visual masterpiece while still showcasing a fun, balls-to-the-wall action film crankes up to 11.
Mad Max: Fury Road follows the story of the titular hero Max (Tom Hardy) who finds himself caught in the middle of a war between a dictator of a society called the Citadel named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who is looking to come back to her home land while transporting five beautiful women used for breeding.
Where do I begin? I'll start off with the performances. Tom Hardy is a quietly commanding presence as Max as while he doesn't speak in a lot of dialogue, he still does a lot of facial acting to let the viewers know what is going through his head. But while Hardy is excellent as always, the real star of the film is Charlize Theron as Furiosa. The beauty of her performance is how she showcases a physical and stoic badassery mixed with emotional gravitas. Another actor I'd love to discuss is Nicholas Hoult as Nux, a sickly War Boy. Hoult's transition from blood-thirsty psychopath to redemptive hero that aids Max and Furiosa was very swift and helped create a sympathetic and dynamic character. Even if the film was meh, I would still rewatch it just to see Hoult's great performance. Even though he won't, he should be getting some Oscar consideration for his performance. Next, I'll go into the five women that accompany Furiosa. What surprised and pleased me was these five women could've easily been used as stock eye candy. But they actually aid in the battle that takes place over the course of the film and the actresses that play them (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton) leave quite an impression.
I also loved the outstanding production design. I loved the look given to this whole post-apocalyptic setting. Even the various cars that the villains drive have distinctive looks and even the different villains don't all look the same. That whole distinctiveness adds to the world building that the filmmakers create. That brings me to my next point. One thing that I loved about the way co-writer/director George Miller shot it is how he does a lot of visual storytelling. For example, Immortan Joe walks into a special area in the bottom of his palace full of well-grown plants, indicating how he keeps not just most of the water in the Citadel to himself from his people, but a lot of the plant life. Plus, when we are first introduced to the five beautiful women and see that *SPOILER ALERT* one of them is pregnant, we are given the hint that these women are used for breeding without the characters having to spoon feed it for us.
Lastly, I'll get into what is perhaps the heart and soul of the film. That is the film's action and chase sequences. One thing I liked about them was how each one is different from the other. Also, even though the action sequences have plenty of fast-paced editing, there is still a lot of attention given to the characters and there aren't many jump cuts to confuse the viewers. Plus, once the action starts from the beginning, it never really stops.
Overall, Mad Max: Fury Road is a high-octane thrill ride from start to finish that features pulse-pounding acting sequences as well as complex yet badass characters mixed with visual and artful storytelling. What a blast this movie is!