Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

May 15, 2015

Just deserts

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 8:37 pm

May 15, 2015

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

Director: George Miller

With Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller, creator of the original Mad Max trilogy, delivers another jolt of demented originality. Arriving 30 years after Mel Gibson drifted into the horizon in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdrome, this reboot of Miller’s seminal post-apocalyptic saga is 120 minutes of non-stop, noisy, over-the-top action that evokes feelings of exhilaration, disbelief, and exhaustion. It’s a film that hits the ground running and never takes its foot off the accelerator.

Set in a grim dystopian future, the film stars Tom Hardy as road warrior Max, whom we first spot driving around the vast desert wasteland in a rusty, rattling car. Any doubts you may have had about the potential of the franchise to still engage after all these years are quickly laid to rest within the film’s opening minutes, when he’s chased and captured by a gang of skeletal punk-thugs called “War Boys”. It’s one of those hyperkinetic, breathless sequences that sets the tone for what will follow.

Hardy may have the titular role here, but it’s Charlize Theron, playing badass female lead Imperator Furiosa, who is the film’s real hero. She’s freed a group of five women, the wives of tyrannical dictator Immoran Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), and she’s racing across the desert with them, chased by the villain’s gang. A captured Max, being used as a “blood bank” for one of the dictator’s henchmen Nux (Nicholas Hoult), escapes and teams up with Furiosa. The film then is one long car chase across the desert, filled with stunts and car wrecks and explosions that are surprisingly very good fun.

Sure it’s a slim plot, and there’s very little dialogue, but the writers do a good job constructing a surprisingly feminist tale. At its core, Fury Road is about women reclaiming their independence from an oppressive bully to whom they are no more than “breeders”.

Expectedly the real pleasure of the film lies in its maniacal action, its impossible stunts, and the sort of images that tend to stay embedded in your memory. There’s utter chaos in the attack scenes, which defy both logic and gravity and yet seem to make perfect sense in the world Miller has set up. It’s truly a roller coaster ride of a film, and I’m happy to report that the 3D never feels intrusive. Shot against mostly bright, saturated landscapes, the film has a very different visual palette from the first Mad Max movie.

Hardy does a lot without saying much; he has terrific presence, and brings complexity to a character that could’ve easily been one-dimensional. Theron appears to be having a good time playing an action hero, while still bringing depth to the part.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s brutal and relentless, and delivers a surefire adrenalin rush. I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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