Watch: Mad Max: Fury Road
On the surface this film may seem like a two-hour car chase, but when you look at it more closely, it’s a story of redemption. The focus is mostly on the character of Furiosa and her mission to liberate the captive wives of the tyrannical Immortan Joe. While Max who is haunted by his past and has spent many years living in the Australian wasteland has become rather feral. He ends up helping Furiosa with her mission and in turn begins his journey of redemption. And finally we have the warboy Nux who during the course of the film finds something much greater to die for than the fanaticism that he was raised on.
I’m inclined to call this film a piece of art, especially compared to other actions films that were released this year. For films that have been released in the past year or so, in terms of visual style and intensity, it is matched only by the phenomenal World War 2 film, Fury. That’s not to say other action films released this year were bad -I really enjoyed Age of Ultron, Chappie and Ant Man– Fury Road was just different. It probably also helped that of the aforementioned films, Fury Road didn’t have the same level of expectation associated with it.
Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are both excellent in their respective roles, which to be honest is unsurprising, they more often than not give wonderful performances (sometimes making them the best thing in the film, Theron in Snow White and Hunstman for example). What was surprising to me though was the performance from Nicholas Hoult as Nux; I didn’t actually realise it was him at all while watching the film for the first time. I still find it strange to think he is the same young boy that was in About a Boy, but here is a grown man and quickly becoming a damn fine actor.
A film like this is often reliant upon great special effects and those that are bored with the oft used Computer Generated Images will be pleased to find that practical effects are used quite extensively for the action with some CG being used to enhance the scenes; such as the great sandstorm.
The cinematography and the musical score (provided by Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL) are outstanding. There’s a scene just over half way through the film where Furiosa is kneeling in a desert and it’s incredibly beautiful, which in turn makes it one of my favourite scenes in the film. It was in fact listening to the score after seeing the film that fuelled my desire to see it a second time.
The world which George Miller has built over the past thirty years since the last Mad Max is quite astonishing. I firmly believe that this is the best of the four films and look forward to seeing what ideas are explored in the next film.
Read: Mad Max: Fury Road Comics
The Fury Road comics fill in some backstory in the film and for those interested in how all four films fit together, adds some details to that too. There’s four comics in total, one that outlines how Immortan Joe became the man we see in the film and how Nux became a Warboy. There’s also the Furiosa comic which explains why she is helping the wives escape the Citadel and is possibly the most interesting of the four comics. The other two comics are of course focused on the titular character of Max and although it is mostly focused on a stand-alone event, it does also add some detail that would link the original trilogy with the new film. The artwork in each comic is great while the writing is typical Mad Max so fans of the universe won’t be disappointed. Although you don’t need to read the comics to fully understand and enjoy the films I do feel that if you are a fan of the universe then the extra detail the comics offer is enough satiated your desire for me. At least until the next film is released.
Listen: Mad Max: Fury Road OST by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL)
Regardless of whether it be a score to a film or game or an album by a band/musical artist, a truly great piece of music is a journey that will explore many facets of the emotional spectrum while also entertaining and inspiring the listener. This score does exactly that.
Pounding drums, gorgeous synthesisers and strings as well as crushing guitars traverse the musical soundscape from adrenaline fuelled intensity to haunting and serene. As one might expect from a film that is, on the surface, a giant car chase, the music is often very intense and adrenaline fuelled (Brothers in Arms, Claw Trucks, Chapter Doof) however there are also moments where the soaring notes will reduce my beating heart and racing mind to an almost standstill (particularly the track Many Mothers).
Before seeing Fury Road I wasn’t aware of Holkenborg’s work, however due to brilliance on show here I shall be listening out for his future compositions, while also exploring his back catalogue to see what I have missed.