Dir. by George Miller - 2 hrs.
Official Main Trailer
by Clayton Hollifield
Now this is a dystopia I can get behind! Sure, I dig a good dystopian movie from time to time, and they're all usually dusty and ragged and jerry-rigged worlds, but rarely do you see something like "Mad Max: Fury Road," where the world has evolved into something truly horrifying (and spellbinding). Although the premise isn't new ("The Road Warrior" covered some of this, once upon a time), the visuals certainly are, from top to bottom. The visual aspect of this film is so strong that the story is nearly irrelevant, other than as a road for the frequent clashes between groups to follow.
Max (Tom Hardy) is a haunted man with a past and a bad-ass car, the Interceptor. But he's quickly set upon by the War Boys, captured, and turned into a blood bag (which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like - the lowest classes in this film are used solely for the fluids they can produce). When Furiosa (Charlize Theron) makes a break for it with Immortan Joe's (Hugh Keays-Byrne) harem, Max is strapped to the front of a war chariot vehicle, and the War Boys set out to capture Furiosa and Joe's concubines.
All of that isn't necessarily important; this isn't a plot film. "Mad Max: Fury Road" does what comes rarely in film, and what frequently only comes from truly bizarre or surreal works: this is an experience. You can dissect the plot, the action, the acting, even the movie poster, but it all comes second to what the experience of watching this film feels like. And it truly feels, man. There are truly epic sights, like the War Boys' hometown, which feature giant earthen towers containing all the good stuff (like water), and the wretched who live below, who are periodically given a few drops of water while being warned not to love it too much, lest they resent its absence later. There's a giant (and I mean giant) sandstorm, which was in the trailer, so I'm not spoiling anything. There are endless waves of inventively welded-together vehicles; if you have any weakness for cars, this movie is going to blow your mind. Most of all, there are two full hours here of insane, bespoke, impressive sights that really put you in the middle of the endless fighting and racing through the desert.
In tone, "Fury Road" feels a lot like "The Road Warrior," but with the time to create every nook and cranny from scratch, and the budget to make it a reality. As is the norm for the Max movies, there's no CGI in any of the stunts, and you can feel the difference. I'm not prioritizing one over the other, but when real-world stunts and action are performed and performed well, there's a tangible difference from even the best CGI. And that's the big deal about "Fury Road." It's hard to explain exactly why it was so exhilarating; telling you that it's non-stop action for two hours might sound numbing, but it wasn't. Telling you that the action was top-notch doesn't really get that across. Telling you that there is originality oozing out of every pore of the film doesn't get across how awesome something like the war guitar guy is to see.
4.5 / 5 - Theatre (3D)