“Fury Road feels as at home as a koala in a gumtree.”
It was tempting to leave the premiere of Mad Max: Fury Road in true road warrior fashion by fanging it out of the cinema carpark, laying a massive snakey through quiet suburbia and speeding off at 220kph down the freeway. Thankfully my car is a 1992 2 litre, 4-speed automatic Camry that has serious battery issues at the moment – and I’m a 31 year old father of one with more sense.
That’s the kind of adrenaline George Miller’s reimagining of his 1979 post-apocalyptic phenomenon leaves pumping through your veins. Its madness is as intoxicating as a two week binge on the squirt and leaves you with a fierce hangover that’ll take days to shake.
We’re introduced to Fury Road’s interpretation of Max (Tom Hardy) almost immediately. The isolation of the desert has clearly taken its toll on the lone-wanderer as he’s suffering heavily with mental illness – he’s talking to himself and experiencing visual and audible hallucinations incurred by a traumatic event from his past involving a young boy who may or may not be an older incarnation of Sprog.
Before you can say ‘that scrag and his floozie’, the beginning of a chase that consumes almost the entire film fires its engines. Max is pursued and quickly captured by a band of Immortan Joe’s (Hugh Keays-Byrne) abiding misfits and taken as prisoner – but not for long. Once he escapes the demented grip of a determined Nux (Nicholas Hoult), Max quickly becomes embroiled in Furiosa’s (Charlize Theron) breakout of Immortan’s five wives.
And that’s about it for narrative.
My biggest concern going into Mad Max Fury Road was that the Australianism of the original trilogy would feel too Americanised by a gargantuan budget backed by a major Hollywood studio. But thanks to a who’s who cast of local acting talent including John Howard, Richard Carter, Angus Sampson and the always impressive Gillian Jones Fury Road feels as at home as a koala in a gumtree.
Full credit goes to a reinvigorated George Miller. The maestro filmmaker has orchestrated one of the finest pieces of cinema to come out of Australia – and Namibia (filling in as the Australian desert), I’m sure. At 70 years old Miller’s imagination is as fresh, raw and sweet as a five year old’s, although much more sinister. He doesn’t miss a beat and puts many of his younger contemporaries to shame – Michael Bay could learn a thing or two.
There’s still a bunch of Aussie films yet to be released this year including The Dressmaker, Strangerland, Partisan and Backtrack but I’m predicting Mad Max Fury Road will bag a swag of awards come this year’s AACTA ceremony in December. While it will be a tight arm-wrestle between itself and other nominees, Fury Road deserves to come out on top.
Mad Max Fury Road 5 Stars
Review by Matthew Eeles
Directed by George Miller
Starring Tom Hardy, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult