Mad Max Fury Road opened in cinema's around the world this week and it's extraordinary.
An action packed, relentless, and unforgiving look at a world gone mad. If the world seems to be on the edge, Fury Road, is a nightmarish vision of what might happen, if the world goes over the edge. A Hallucinatory, dream like experience , which has to be seen on the big screen.
The fourth in the Mad Max series is a reboot of sorts, it doesn't have the continuity to be in the timeline of the previous 3 films, but there are references to the previous films which fans will identify. Max's trademark car is briefly featured, and there is a flash back to the demise of a character from the first film as well as hint of the gyrocaptain from part 2. For people who've seen the original films there is a feeling of things being the same but different and this is played out through the films story. In the original films Max, a retired policeman roamed the highways of a post war world after losing his family to a band of murderous bikers. His journey after that was one of survival, dependent on fuel, gasoline, the most precious commodity in the world of Mad Max. In the story of fury road, that commodity has shifted to water. The film opens with Max once again being hunted by bandits, who capture max and decide to use him as commodity of they're own. If you've ever heard the expression "what do you want from me blood?", you'll know what Max is in store for. He then finds himself imprisoned in a strange world where a despot called Immortant Joe, has set himself up as the leader of a "town", and holds the people there ransom by controlling they're water supply. He's a mysogynist who exploits the women there in horrying ways, and has chosen five as his brides, and forced them to create heir's to his "kingdom". With the help of Charlize Theron's "Furiosa", the women make a break for it in a giant battle ready truck, with Max finding himself unwillingly brought along for the ride. Fate and uneasy alliances eventually allow Max to be freed, and as the film progresses Max finds himself aiding the women as they try flee the wasterland to a paradise that may await them across the desert sands. The evil Immortant Joe and his "disciples" a gang of young men called the war boys, follow them in hot pursuit, in a fight to the death. Fury Road is a searing, all out action film the likes of which hasn't been seen. It literally roars at you with it's smoke billowing engines, and at times it feels like the movie is literally SCREAMING at you, or that the characters or action are going fly off the screen and land in your lap.
This is Mad Max to the maximum.
Max himself is drawn slightly differently this time, Tom Hardy's take on the character is shaped by the story and world he finds himself in. The original Max, as played by Mel Gibson, was mad as in angry. This Max is more manic Max, on the edge Max. He spends most of time in state of panic, or neurosis, haunted by memories. At the beginning of the film Max goes through a crash and that in itself leaves him shaken and bruised. By comparison Charlize Theron's Furiosia is composed and determined. A Voice of moral authority who will do everything in her power to protect the women in her charge and get them to safety. Some critics have argued that Max is someone second fiddle to Furiosa, and that Fury Road is "feminist propaganda" but this is to miss the more subtle elements of the story. In Fury Road we are literally seeing the world and the story though Max's eyes. He's a man damaged and haunted by the demons of his past, wounded and if he is any way imasculated its not by the strength of the women he joins causes with, but because his psyche is clouded by so much emotional and raw terror that his inner demons are the things that are holding him back. Once Max finds himself taking on the job of helping the women he joins forces with he returns to being the Max we know and love.
This film is extraordinary because it works on so many different levels. On one hand its an all out, full throttle action film along the lines of Indiana Jones, the audaciousness of the stunts sequences in the cars chases and fight scenes, give the film a technical brilliance but on the other hand Fury Road has subtleties with it's deeper themes of justice spirituality and redemption.
Fury Road, is a Bible story. An allegory for the modern age.