How often do you expect a movie to be 10/10 and then have that expectation utterly smashed into oblivion because the movie, in the space of 120 minutes, totally re-writes what an action movie should be about?
The trailer for Mad Max came out about a year ago and if my experience of movie going was anything to go for, it was bookmarked as something to look forward to. Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy are already amongst my favourite actors, neither appear to do anything wrong lately.
As for Mad Max, what can I say? If I told you that at the end of the movie I turned to friends and mouthed “What the f*** just happened?”, would that convince you? Or the fact that it took me 2 whole hours of movie making before I realised I hadn’t properly breathed yet? And for the first time in my life in a cinema, not a single popcorn munching fool disturbed me, not because there weren’t any (I was sat next to one idiot), but simply because I. Could. Not. Hear. Them.
Let me add to the mix, I watched the film in the brand new iMax theatre in Milton Keynes. It is spectacular in terms of visual (high def, 3D, curved) and also audio (the most punchiest and borderline painfully loud system I’ve heard yet).
Any film in this cinema would immerse you enough but Mad Max isn’t any film. It redefines the paradigm for action movies and sets a benchmark so high I cannot imagine being able to match the standard any time soon.
From the very opening scene right up to the very end, it’s a massive massive film. CGI seems to be completely hidden and only appears to compliment the incredible effort put towards props and the most amazing make up ever – the baddass leader of the world is adorned with the best facial décor that a post-apocalyptic, new age, punk world can muster. And he’s the main cause for our protagonists concern.
Cars (yes, real cars!) are thrown about with utter abandon and at any one time, 15-20 of them are filling your screen, each with their own individual personality. Trucks, Aussie muscle cars, juggernaughts, giant wheeled mercs and the most fantastically imagined custom car jobs I’ve ever seen. As if the cars themselves aren’t enough, we’re treated to explosion after explosion as the film makers write off one car after another.
Curiously, there’s very little we’re told about Max. He doesn’t even tell us his name until the very last closing minutes and despite Tom Hardy doing a brilliant, brilliant Australian loon (with the odd Bane creeping in time to time), I can’t help but feel the female cast are the absolute winners here with Theron doing her bit as a weather torn, nothing-to-lose leader in her own right. She’s gritty, wartorn and carries enough emotional baggage to create an air of intrigue around her character.
But it is curious to me that were I not to know anything about the originals, would I have found this film even more mad and confusing than it was? We are witness to the periodic bouts of psychotic flashback Max experiences which clearly hints to some trauma from the past but we don’t really know much apart from the fact that he tells us he used to be a cop. And I love the writers for not treating me like a fool and allowing me to use my own imagination accordingly.
Essentially we’re looking at a 2 hour car chase. But the term car chase does this movie a disjustice, as heads are decapitated, bodies are flung under moving war rigs and a psychotic brotherhood army of mutated humans battle and vie for a position in Valhalla, giving them fearful persona’s.
The movie looks sensational too. A dry, desolate landscape that has miraculously clung onto bastions of natural beauty and horror in equal measure. Post editing work has done a marvellous job of complimenting each scene with vivid colours and stunning cinematography. The snow storm act was genuinely breathtaking with the vehicles being thrown around inside miniature hurricanes as they combust, throwing fire balls across the camera.
The sheer lunacy and madness of the movie is in stark contrast to Max and Furiosa’s calm – and this is where we find the respite. In a wild, non-stop, crazed lunatic show, there is not a single moment to stop and relax – instead, the leads provide us with reminders that there are humans and humanity amongst the madness and that’s where we breathe.
This is a movie that deserves your money. In an age where we are finding multiple reasons to criticise movie makers and cinemas, the £18 ticket I paid for this movie is an insult to the experience. Go watch this in the movies whilst you can and when the guitar is thrown at your face with all the comedy value that this madness can induce, remember me :)