‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
Directed by George Miller
Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
“Who Killed The World?” they ask in Fury Road. Be glad it’s George Miller. This ridiculously glorious rebooting of the Mad Max films of late ’70s and early ’80s by the director is a celebration of a world gone feral, and women gone sublime. And that’s not all women do here, even when dressed in wisps of delicate white. They command troops, drive war rigs, ride motorcycles and wage wars, apart from being “breeders” for a dictator ruling his kingdom by depriving his people of water.
Let them have mothers’ milk, is Immortan Joe’s (Keays-Byrne, old Mad Max hand) solution. Brother, it doesn’t work that way, you want to tell him. But really when it’s a dictator going down, who are we to stand in the way?
And fall he will, for he uses soldiers who are just “half life” as “battle fodder”, keeps healthier, “full life” men to supply them blood, imprisons beautiful women to bear him healthy babies in a room with an unmistakable sperm carved into the ground, hoards food in own caverns as his populace thirsts for minimally dispensed water, and encourages his people to embrace suicide declaring ecstatically “Witness me!”.
Fighting him is Furiosa (Theron), who has secreted away Joe’s wives (including Huntington-Whiteley) in the war rig she has been selected to drive. Max (Hardy) hops on along the way. A loner, he had been kept captured by Joe’s men and was being used as a “blood bag” by Nux (Hoult). He is O-ve, and even in this world, he is a “universal donor”.
Almost all of the film happens on the war rig, the oil gallon hitched to it, and the assortment of vehicles in which Joe and his men give Furiosa and the wives a chase. It’s an astonishing achievement to stage an entire story on vehicles on the move, and Fury Road teaches Fast and Furious a thing or two in every creaking joint.
There are crashes, blasts, flames, men on poles (called polecats) swinging between vehicles, vehicles shaped like porcupines (called buzzards), and lots and lots of bikes. There is hardly a breather and lots of sand swirling around, and somehow Miller orchestrates the mayhem with precision.
It’s another matter that one of the premises of this dystopian world is the lack of fuel, making “guzzoline” the most precious commodity. No one seems to lack it as they rev down the sand track, and no one loses a heartbeat over how much is blown up (some 10,000 litres, says one shaking head).
However, it’s hard to care when you are having so much fun seeing Miller rustle up a beautifully orange sandstorm where lesser vehicles are tossed and burnt up, watching men blast or crush each other to pieces, noting people chained to each other fighting together, and observing how five women bring a desert to a standstill when they decide to use a pipe to take a shower, or one of them just hangs out the door in full pregnant glory.
And that’s not even covering Theron — with a missing hand — who blazes fire and grief with her eyes. Many old Mad Max fans are heartbroken at she being the real hero of this film. Hoult is the closest in the acting department to Theron as Joe’s “war boy” chasing imagined glory, while Hardy is all lips.
“Where must we go, we who wander this wasteland, in search of our better selves,” asks Fury Road.
Better selves? Anyone?