CANNES – MAD MAX FURY ROAD – is a rollicking rock and roll road movie, a two hour chase which never lets up, and yet for all the thrills and spills, George Miller has made a sharply clever film as well.
So the plot is this: there has been some kind of nuclear skirmish and everywhere looks like a rock video from the late eighties. Tom Hardy plays Max, an ex-cop turned road warrior turned appropriately nutty alliterative man. He’s taken prisoner by a the war boys and Immorten Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, the original Mad Max’s Toecutter), who use him as a blood bag to revive the radiation sick lads, but when war chief Imperator Furiosa (a stunning Charlize Theron) decides to hijack her own convoy and steal away with Joe’s prize possessions – his women, who look like they’ve just stepped off a Benetton billboard – Max finds himself dragged along the chase, not as a driver or a killer, but as blood refill.
What happens for the next two hours is just gobsmackingly fun! Miller is so knowingly confident of his own high-ridiculousness that he even has the convoy include a rock orchestra to play the soundtrack on screen. The action is stunning, the use of real stunts making all the difference. The building of tension and the inventiveness of the sequences bespeak sharp minds at work and the ludicrousness of it all is part of the exhilarating fun. The feminist turn the story takes is one of the many pleasing surprises as the damsels in distress shuck of their victimhood and kick ass.
Hardy’s great, Theron’s better, but when it comes down to it this is a film from the GENIUS George Miller. There’s no arguing with that.