Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece of cinema, a full throttle symphony of mayhem and exhilaration that will blow audiences out of their chairs. I waited a day to write this review. Time was needed to examine this film in retrospect. Walking out of the theater, I was shell-shocked. Stupefied with amazement. Twenty-four hours later, my feelings have grown fonder. I could watch this film a hundred times. After a thirty-year absence, George Miller has resurrected Mad Max like a deity reborn to greatness.
In the vast wasteland of the nuclear decimated future, a hideous despot - Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) rules atop mighty peaks. Worshipped by his men, he rules a starved and broken people by controlling their access to water. Joe's evil dystopia is shattered when his lieutenant, Imperator Furiousa (Charlize Theron), steals his treasured brides. Hurtling through the scorched desert in her war rig, she dares escape to the paradise of her birth. Surrounded by savage gangs, with Joe and his army in terrifying pursuit; she finds an unlikely savior (Tom Hardy as Mad Max).
Mad Max: Fury Road is literally a two hour nonstop chase. There's five minutes of exposition and it is pedal to the metal. There's much unsaid in this film. Tom Hardy has scant dialogue. Charlize Theron barely speaks more. The supporting characters carry the lion's share of speech. But the leads own, own, own this movie with their raw, brutally physical performance. Hardy is grizzled like chewed leather, but his eyes betray his kind heart. Theron wears an iron visage of fear, desperation, and resolve. Their countenance is willpower personified. This pair of actors are gunpowder and bullets, fire and octane, every adjective I can think of for lethal. They beat the daylight out of some seriously bad-assed villains. But are not innately violent, just survivors in a terrible world.
The filmmaking and technical expertise on display here are award worthy. The spectacular stunt driving, the unheralded stunt men, the bone- crushing vehicles, the bleak production design, the incredible special effects, the sure to be Oscar nominated editing, every facet of Fury Road is freaking exceptional. The plot is simple, but the lack of complexity does not meant a bad story. The story is riveting. Joe's slave brides, their breastmilk diet, kept beauties for breeding, juxtaposed against the harshness and cruelty of their world is pretty shocking to see. George Miller paints a disturbing, thoughtful canvas, with brushstrokes of insane violence. He had a grand vision for this film, an opus of destruction to surpass his original trilogy. I daresay he has fulfilled it.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a must see, in the best theater possible. It is worth every penny. This review is effusive in praise, and not a single word is hyperbole. Mad Max: Fury Road is quite simply, one of the best action films ever made. Tom Hardy welcome to mega stardom.