I loved ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. Directed, like the previous ones, by George Miller, it is a great example of balance in a genre in which balance is almost impossible to achieve. The world where the story takes place is almost medieval for people are the property of a tyrannical and physically disgusting Iron-Maiden-like anti-hero called Immortal Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) who controls them by making water as scarce as possible. With nods to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, their ‘village’ is vertically divided in two levels: the warboys living above the rest.
Max, played without a wasted word or gesture but with plenty of expressive grunts and snorts by Tom Hardy, is kept alive only as a ‘blood bag’ to transfuse one of ‘war boys’. He defines himself as a survivor but his life is mined by a series of flashbacks
Flashbacks of the trauma of not having been able to defend his family keep emerging and, as in psychoanalysis, Max knows that the only way to get rid of his demons is to confront them.Thus, his journey is from point A to B but actually it happens within his own ethical self. What drives him is redemption. In that quest he coincides with a chief warrior called Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a rebel with a buzz cut, a prosthetic arm, a thousand-mile stare and a supremely righteous cause. Joe, whose empire runs on slave labor, keeps a harem of women for breeding. Furiosa has five of them (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough, Courtney Eaton and Abbey Lee) hidden in her tanker truck, and she’s running a kind of underground railroad operation in the guise of a trading mission. Joe wants his property back, and sets out in pursuit with a battalion of war boys, a heavy-metal guitarist and a fleet of customized retro-futuristic vehicles.
‘Mad Max’ unfolds in fast, relentless linear motion. As said before, it goes from A to B and then from B to A. But the linearity is only physical for the twist happen with violent speed. To make things even worse, when things go bad, the flashbacks of her dead daughter resurface. So violence happens outside, inside and inside out a very stoic Tom Hardy.
The beauty of this film is the way it flirts with sentiment only through facial expressions. The dialogues were tastefully cut to their bare minimum to the point of being almost business-like. Theron could be a silent-movie heroine, despite the noise that surrounds her — and on Junkie XL’s superb, full-throated score. When it wants to crack jokes, the movie reaches for quick, profane sight gags but does not dwell in them. The themes of vengeance and solidarity, the wide-open spaces and the kinetic, ground-level movement mark “Fury Road” as a western, and the filmmakers pay tribute to such masters of the genre as John Ford, Budd Boetticher and, not least, Chuck Jones, whose Road Runner cartoons are models of ingenuity and rigor.
There is a hint of romance between to lateral characters. A sweet, almost wordless romance blossoms between a hapless war boy (Nicholas Hoult) and one of Joe’s brides, as she and her comrades evolve from eye candy into a feminist guerrilla force. They are joined by a band of older women called the Vuvalini, who along with Furiosa, decide to give Immortan Joe’s patriarchy a taste of its own medicine. The fact that there is no sexual tension between Hardy and Theron makes this movie a wonderful one. A kiss between the two of them would have spoiled the true issue here: that of honour and decency. I loved it. J A T