I remember the first time I stumbled across a copy of George Miller’s 1979 cult-classic ‘Mad Max’.
I was a few days short of my 13th birthday and after everyone else went to sleep I crept downstairs and stuck a VHS copy into our VCR and life was never the same again.
Ever since that monumental evening I have developed a penchant for films in the wake of the nuclear apocalypse.
In the years that followed I watched and watched again director George Miller’s Mad Max movies. The word obsessive comes to mind.
When I found out in 2012 that Miller had agreed to return to the helm one more time I was almost literally beside myself.
Replacing the brilliant Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky is the sublimely talented Tom Hardy.
The film opens with a breathtaking shot of Max (with back to camera) standing beside his car staring out across the desert landscape.
Max is on the run from a gang loyal to the brutal Immortan Joe, (who is played by Hugh Keays Byrne who plays Toecutter in the 1979 film).
Joe rules with fear and holds all of the power over the much sought after water supply. Joe has also taken several young women hostage with the hope of using their health and beauty to provide himself with a string of healthy children.
Max is presented with a chance to escape but in doing so he must assist Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) in getting the young women to safety and away from Joe. What follows is perhaps one of the most beautiful games of cat and mouse ever to be witnessed on the big screen.
Miller’s imagination is utterly unique and despite the fact it is set against a backdrop of nuclear destruction, infection and mutation, there is a great beauty in the world that he presents.
The film is unconventionally shot and whilst it does take a little while to get used to it soon feels just right.
Hardy is a more than fitting successor to Gibson but the real star of the show is Charlize Theron.
I have to admit that I did come away from ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ thinking that one of its main themes was about female empowerment but what’s wrong with that?
It’s unconventionality is breathtaking, Miller’s imagination spellbinding, the music from Junkie XL outstanding and the acting performances from are top classAndrew Quinn - Derry Journal film critic
Some have criticised the film for the way in which it has presented women as the heroes but for what it’s worth I found it refreshingly brilliant.
Theron is simply outstanding and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that the decision to base her appearance in this movie upon that of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from ‘Alien’ was intentional.
I found it impossible to find anything significantly wrong with this film. It’s unconventionality is breathtaking, Miller’s imagination spellbinding, the music from Junkie XL outstanding and the performances from Hardy and Theron are top class.
George Miller confirmed via Twitter this week that Max will return. Hallelujah!
VERDICT: 5/5 - The last time George Miller and Max Rockatansky took to the road Paul Hardcastle was in the charts with ‘19’. 1985 was a long time ago but it’s been worth the wait.
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is a remarkable film. Not only does it re-launch the character of Max Rockatansky but it brings with it breathtaking visuals and some of the best sound you’ll hear inside a cinema this year.
Hardy is more than a worthy successor to Mel Gibson and Theron is outstanding but the true victor is Miller. He’s back and there’s more to come...