“Mad Max: Fury Road” takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where civilization no longer exists. People are run by clans – clans controlled by tyrannical and decrepit dictators who don’t spare a single thought for their citizens or their wellbeing. It is in this deserted and doomed place where Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) appears and is kidnapped by a group of young men known as the “War Boys”. These boys take him to Citadel – a dead place ruled by ‘Immortan Joe’ (Hugh Keays-Byrne) – a grotesque figure who seems to live his life for two reasons and two reasons only: to be idolized by his “War Boys”, and to find an heir for his throne. He keeps five “wives” imprisoned in his tower, locked up where he can subject them to his obscure and masochistic desires.
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It is here where Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) enters the story; she wants to put an end to this situation. She decides to take Immortan Joe’s wives away to “The green place” and start a new world. As is expected, Joe is far from pleased with this idea, and so he starts a thrilling chase against Furiosa to try and gain his “wives” back. The world the film is set in is one in which woman are constantly objectified, and so it seems like it would be the easiest option to have Tom Hardy as the great action hero and Charlize Theron as the damsel in distress or the – unfortunately – common sex symbol to pair with the protagonist. However, here is where “Fury on the road” makes the right decisions; it breaks any preconceptions you could have about the saga and turns the film into something else: a message; a promise of hope.
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Furiosa’s character is the heroine I believe all films are in need of: brave, committed and with a firm determination that knows no limits or pain. Charlize Theron is a real tour de force in her interpretation of her character – her acting is fearless, and she is able to convey the sense that Furiosa is able to search for both redemption and revenge at the same time. In a world dominated by men, Furiosa proves that she is not only capable of doing the same tasks as them, but more! What is particularly noticeable is how, despite her independence, she doesn’t push Nux or Max’s help away. Instead, they work together as part of a team, promoting the message that women and men are equal. Furiosa is accompanied by “The wives”, a group of five beautiful women. In other films, we might have just have seen the naked torsos of these women, begging for clemency and freedom, but – thankfully – this is not the case. Director George Miller turns their characters into sort of Valkyries, who support each other till the very end, uncovering their own talents along the way.
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Another character who deserves attention and praise is Nux (Nicholas Hoult), one of the War Boys. Nux’s character undergoes a deep transformation, and it is through him that we can see how society can change for bad, but also for good. When we meet him he is willing to go on Fury Road, even though he’s very ill, as he wants to achieve immortality. For this purpose, he starts suicide missions, all of them unsuccessful; he doesn’t know what else to do with his life and wants to die. It is here when he meets Capable (Riley Keough) and his life takes a turn: she opens his eyes and shows him a reality so long ignored and dismissed. It is thanks to Nux that we can have faith in humanity; we see how humans can be so easily manipulated, but also that there’s hope if you give a person love and respect. It is due to Hoult’s amazing performance that we can believe this. His performance gives the character the vulnerability and fragility he needs, and when he changes for good we believe the change is for real.
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There are many more aspects of this movie that should be discussed, such as its beautiful photography; it is as if you were watching an animated comic. This can be said for a rare few other films, such as “Sin City”, “300” and “Batman”, which also manage to achieve the right mixture of colours, footage and perspective. Perhaps one of its most noticeable features is its soundtrack. The music doesn’t give you a minute to catch your breath, which I think sums up the whole film perfectly. You can’t take your eyes off the screen for a second, almost as if you were Alex in “A Clockwork Orange” and you were forced to watch something with your eyes wide open. That’s how you feel watching this film – its unstoppable rhythm doesn’t give you a minute to rest.
Lucía Vázquez Bonome