Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

(This post was originally published on 25/05/2015 on a previous blog.)

Mad Max Fury Road is a movie of epic proportions, with stunning performances from a stellar cast and  visuals that are consistently vibrant and epic in scope.

Fury Road has many strengths under its belt but the absolute strongest of these is its cast and the performances they give. Tom Hardy fits perfectly in to the role of strong and silent, Mad Max. Strong and very silent in fact, it’s quite impressive how much Hardy (and the movie as a whole) manages to convey with very little dialogue.

But whilst Tom Hardy is excellent in the title role, Charlize Theron is the real scene stealer, managing to strike a fine a balance between emotive and steadfast badass-ery, making her a key ingredient in many of the film’s most striking scenes. Her story is a refreshing approach to a modern blockbuster action film and frequently provides a thread of morality in a world that is so clearly tipped over the brink of insanity.

And what a world it is. Imagine a Slipknot concert taking place at a demolition derby in a game of borderlands set on tatooine, then turn that needle up all the way to eleven and set it on fire, and, in comparison to Fury Road, that’s placid. The films art direction requires special praise, as the movie is as much a two hour showcase of the absurd, beastly mechanical designs, as it is anything else. fortunately the stunning art direction is matched by equally strong cinematography. With epic shots of breathtaking natural scenery and the gorgeous use of varied colour palettes making Fury Road a visual delight.

The film isn’t perfect in all regards though, one issue of note is the sound and sound mixing. The orchestral soundtrack is utterly stunning, with soft subtleties being mixed and alternated with rousing  drums and heavy electric guitars (which deserve a special mention, as their inclusion in both the audio and the visuals in certain action sequences is ridiculous and yet masterful, there aren’t many other films that could simultaneously use a musical instrument as a part of the soundtrack and an onscreen weapon). On top of all this there is the frequent, grinding sound of metal upon metal as vehicular action engulfs the frame.

It is clearly the intention of the film to be, during these scenes, an assault on the senses, with loud volume being matched by brutal fight choreography and fast paced editing. But during these scenes the grinding sounds and engine noise was a little too overwhelming, it made it hard to focus on anything else and happened, perhaps, a little too frequently for the films good.

One of the most important aspects of this film is the approach it takes in telling the story. The narrative itself is a dark, violent journey. But, unlike many of its blockbuster peers, this film relies on clever plot points and strong world building to reinforce its narrative. it’s nice to see a film that strikes a fine balance between attention grabbing action scenes  and intelligent story telling rather than falling back on logic jumps to avoid answering questions.

Overall Mad Max: Fury Road is a stunning action film with a great cast, who each help to tell a story that presents a refreshing take on the typical “action movie” fare that audiences are used to. The film constantly strikes a fine balance between reality and absurdity, and manages to be brutal and subtle at the same time.  It’s Imaginatively designed and beautifully shot, though It can be a little too overwhelming at times. Mad Max Fury Road is, in almost all respects, an utter triumph.

Based on a 100 point scale I would score this film: 9.3/10

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