Mad Max: Fury Road - directed by George Miller, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron
The new Mad Max: Fury Road shows what a real blockbuster can deliver in spades.
It’s a thriller in every sense – not least because its creator, Doctor George Miller, turned 70 this year, and the original Mad Max trilogy came to an end 30 years ago.
The first three films made a star of Mel Gibson, with probably less than fifty lines of dialogue in all the films combined. This time it stars Tom Hardy as the man in the desert after the world collapsed from a lack of petrol and water.
In all the Mad Max films, Max himself is a man with no past. We get only tantalising hints of a trail of deaths behind him - people he couldn’t save. When we meet him, he’s almost completely feral. He eats what he kills, he can barely talk. And he’s about to be captured.
When you think of Mad Max films you think of pace, violence and the most imaginative art direction of any action film ever. But George Miller’s greatest skill is inventing worlds. If civilisation broke down, posits Miller, then the world would go pre-historic, mashing together societies and mythologies in the same way their inhabitants pimp their high-powered vehicles.
Unlike other world-creators – the name George Lucas comes effortlessly to mind – George Miller doesn’t stop to explain the rules and the societies of Mad Max in long, expository scenes.
As the sub-title Fury Road states from the start, the film is one, long, unending chase, and any plot-points are tossed out on the fly.
Not only does Fury Road live up to its distinguished predecessors, I’m not sure it’s not the best of the lot.
I can’t wait to see it again, if only to catch more of the story details often drowned in the thrilling stunts and effects. It’s absolutely all you could want from Mad Max – and a bit more.