Mad Max: Fury Road

Director: George Miller

Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Rated: R (intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images)

A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in postapocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max.

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

By Cole Schneider

Oh what a lovely time I had watching “Mad Max: Fury Road”! The fourth Mad Max film is the first in a reboot with Tom Hardy in the titular role and is by far the best of the bunch. I like the other three, but this is rare, masterful filmmaking. This has a more complex moral compass than the first film, more impressive action-set pieces than the second, and better production design than the third–and those films are among the most fascinating ever made with respect to their corresponding note.

“Fury Road” will be remembered as one of the most zany, frenetic, and visceral theatrical experiences of its time. It’s a two-hour car chase that keeps shifting into a higher gear and this core element of the film simply needs to be seen rather than dictated.

The story, however, packs a much heavier punch than expected. I imagine creator-director George Miller fancies “Fury Road” as an existential tale in line with the Theater of the Absurd. It’s all dressed up with a tremendous goth-metal production design, but the backbone of the film is much more intellectually stimulating. Miller even invokes Godot imagery in a key scene. Yet it’s never truly a metaphysical exploration, but rather a social one.

The Mad Max universe has always been economically-conscious, but “Fury Road” also offers a feminist phenomenology that demands provocation from both sexes. Yes, there’s more than action here–but oh the action! Is this the best action ever filmed? That may be hyperbolic, but it’s certainly a fair inquiry.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

By Matt Greene

Imagine this: you’re in a theater, but instead of simply watching a film, you’re grabbed by the shoulders and violently shaken for 2 hours; THAT’S the fantastic experience of MM:FR. It’s less an adrenaline rush than a direct I.V.-shot of caffeine into your bloodstream. Faster and more furious than the most recent car-based movie, it’s kinetic action in the style of a fever dream. A punk-rock, post-apocalyptic nightmare that’s a feast for the senses, benefiting from director Miller’s visionary and fearless eye. Pure, unadulterated insanity that reminds us what it looks like when great artists try something uniquely extraordinary and succeed.

Miller’s main achievement is getting everyone to buy into this insanity. With the scale of a blockbuster and the soul of an indie, MM:FR is unlike anything you’ll see in theatres this year. Hardy as the new Max continues the characters reactive-style heroics with just enough heart behind his crazy eyes, and all the supporting cast portray their varying levels of madness with crazed conviction. However, all of these talented performances are overshadowed by the amazing aesthetic. Through grimy, herky-jerky visuals, Miller gives us practical-effects-filled action sequences that are masterpiece level.

This isn’t to say there isn’t something deeper going on. On top of being of a feminist manifesto, a study of religious extremism, and an argument that capitalism leads to death, it’s ultimately a moving story of equality and hope that proves goodness can defeat desperation. Haven’t seen the Mel Gibson originals? That’s okay. Don’t let the daunting task of seeing all those first keep you from one of the greatest action films in years.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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