When Charlize Theron begins a rescue mission for five “wives” of Immortan Joe – a strange evil dictator who rules over the people in his vicinity by controlling the water – she starts off an all-out vehicle war between the various peoples of this dry post-apocalyptic desert. Including Tom Hardy as a bedraggled hard man with a past.
Let’s be clear while there is a plot and some clear messages the film wants to put across, this is all put to one side for the most part in place of pure action. The main body of the film contains very little dialogue and director George Miller has cited silent movies as his main influence on the movie. And this is all absolutely key to the unadulterated adrenaline rush you get from watching this. It’s not bogged down with shouted dialogue, and it’s all about the physicality of the action. Where in a movie like Transformers nothing that happens feels real in any way, when you watch Mad Max people get hurt, and it feels like people get hurt. When cars crash and collide you feel the explosions and this isn’t just because of how gosh darn loud the film is.
While many have heralded this as some sort of new breed of feminist blockbuster, I question how purely equality minded the movie is. Yes Charlize Theron’s central amputee flawed protagonist is absolutely brilliant and exactly what the industry needs. But the film also contains a scene of five scantily clad women washing each other with a hose. It’s not Michael Bay but it’s still irritatingly normal for this genre. But the messages are good: women are not objects. However this isn’t exactly conveyed subtly and what worries me is that we live in a society in which the message “rape is bad” and “you can’t own women” needs to be conveyed this blatantly.
Overall, while Mad Max: Fury Road is a loud, laddy, cars-smashing-abouty blockbuster. It’s probably about the best one of those I’ve seen. With an impeccable performance from Charlize Theron who really is the heart of this movie. A very decent turn by Tom Hardy (who occasionally has a good American accent) and a surprise Nicholas Hoult are icing on this immeasurably dusty and noisy cake. Very enjoyable viewing, if quite flawed.