Hyperbole is a dangerous thing, it makes the ordinary seem amazing. In an age where every second movie has larger than life special effects and huge production values, we often fall prey to hype and hoopla generated in social media. I have never been a fan of dystopian, post-apocalyptic feature films. I was never captivated by the universe it is set in, nor could I understand the motivation of the characters. What drives them to behave the way they do? How did the world end up that way? None of it is answered in great detail in Mad Max : Fury Road, but there was talk, serious talk about how good a movie it was, some on twitter even went on to call it one of the greatest action movies of all time, that it would be a tough feat to repeat.
Hyperbole can raise your limits sky high, if the movie achieves anything short of your expectations, it ends up being a disappointment because of all the excitement it has generated. As Mad Max powered through the first hour I feared that I had become a victim of it, I had set myself such huge expectations that I was finding for reasons to be blown away. Where was the big action sequence that will take my breath away? There is just a bunch of crazy people chasing a woman in an outback (a gorgeously set outback, at that), nevertheless, did I become a prey to all the hype that was generated on Twitter?
“Never trust people on Twitter, I have told you time and time again,” I told myself.
And then, as the movie clocked into the second hour, all my opinions changed.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a chase film at heart, Furiosa (Charlize Theron) a character as fiery as her name helps a bunch of enslaved women escape the Citadel, a post-apocalyptic ghetto run by Immortan Joe, Max Rocktansky (Tom Hardy) used to be a cop in the normal world before it went berserk. Having lost his wife and child during the events that reduced the world to a wasteland, he wanders the desert until he is caught and enslaved by the “War Boys”, a faction headed by Immortan Joe. In a world where gasoline is the only currency, Max, with the blood type of a universal donor is a precious commodity among the enslaved, until he breaks free and reluctantly begins to help Furiosa.
Despite having a huge, detailed world with big production values, and remade with the premise of a franchise that was created thirty years ago, Mad Max doesn’t bother to sprinkle its narrative with pretentious philosophy or emotional moments that are often forced in action movies to give them a human angle. George Miller sticks with keeping it an action movie that unfolds with such frenetic pace–all of it to the riffs of guitars and beats of the drums–that you would feel that the cameras were injected with drugs while filming it. There are some epic set pieces, from the desert storm through which Max and Furiosa have to drive their oil rig, to fighting through a biker gang, and the final action sequence where they are relentlessly chased and attacked by the War Boys, all of it sets up for a pulse pounding experiencing.
Amidst all the carnage that happens around her, Charlize Theron gives a solid performance as Furiosa, keeping her sanity intact while she is chased by mutants, men and monsters. Despite the movie named after the lead hero, it is Furiosa who delivers the punches, matching her male counterpart blow for blow while shepherding a group of women who were used for morbid purposes in the Citadel. Tom Hardy as Max fits the role perfectly, playing a tortured hero–physically and mentally–with a silent rage. Nicholas Hoult is terrific as the loud and brash Nux, blinded by his devotion to a fault you could empathize with him as he tries to seek the attention of Immortan Joe. Hugh Kay Beans who in the 1979 original played the bad guy, returns as Immortan Joe, and is menacing.
There will be movies in the near future that will knock our socks off, there will be larger-than-life set-pieces, jaw-dropping visuals and fight scenes that will take our breath away, and we will tweet, post and share about them, too. In an age where we are spoilt for stories and content, with attention spans that only last from one Friday to the next, Mad Max is one of those movies that will stand the test of time. And when you talk of it, you won’t talk about it just as a movie, you will talk about it like it were a shot of adrenaline through your veins.
So much for hyperbole.