The fourth installment of Mad Max stars Tom Hardy as Max, instead of Mel Gibson, and is about the same post apocalyptic world, where humans are mostly deformed and where potable water is a luxury. I’m unfamiliar with any of George Miller’s previous work, and I have not watched any of the Mad Max movies. I also found it a little difficult to figure out the eccentric style of the movie, and was not sure whether few words and concepts were specific jargons from the franchise. However, the movie was gripping and I thoroughly enjoyed it for the visual and aural extravaganza that it is.
In a world with no order and paucity of basic needs, Max (Tom Hardy) and Furiosa (Charlize Theron) meet by accident and try to find a way to restore order from chaos. While Furiosa believes that her childhood homeland is still lush and has abundant necessities and tries to reach there, Max tries to escape from captivity and is forced to accompany her, and together, these warriors with mysterious back stories (or maybe stories from the prequels) must fend off an army of War Boys, who serve a totalitarian leader called Immortan Joe.
The unconventional style of film making feels terrible in the beginning, but this feeling doesn’t last for long. The set up seems like a mix of period movie culture with modern gaming adventures. Its not clear if the movie is trying to seem like a realistic representation of the post apocalypse or a fantasy world with weird nomenclature for machines and characters, and weird rituals and hopes of going to a place called “Valhalla”. The makeup and costumes are also very awkward and very inconsistent. Most War Boys wear some kind of white paint all over their skin, and are always topless. While Max and some women warriors seem to wear as much clothing as possible with wool or leather jackets most of the time, the non-warrior women (wives of Joe) in the movie are as scantily clad as possible. This is probably a technique to hint at the chaos in their world, but its not so effective and it just seems like there is something really wrong here. All this may be a part of the eccentric style but its pretty hard to accept, especially if you are unfamiliar with it and if this is the first Mad Max movie you are watching.
The two most amazing elements will have to be the stunning visuals and the breathtaking soundtrack. The use of wide angles for desert landscape and the superb action scenes makes this a masterpiece from cinematographer John Seale. Junkie XL has done a great job with the somber beats filled soundtrack that keeps the viewer riveted through most of the movie. The action deserves a mention, not just because of its awesome visual feel, but because its not redundantly used like most movies do these days. There are losses after every sequence and some character or other feels the pain of these losses and no screen time goes wasted with gratuitous scenes. The 3D, even though post-converted, is amazingly noticeable and only improves the experience of an already visually superior film. Tom Hardy is brilliant as Mad Max, bringing just the right amount of courage, vulnerability and madness that suits the character. Theron as Furiosa and Hoult as one of the War Boys, also get some crucial moments in the movie, which they both pull off with finesse. The last scene in which Hoult appears, where he says “Witness Me” is one of the best in the movie and Hoult deserves special credit for this. The plot makes sense,and even if the costumes and dialogues are weird, there is much at stake in this pandemonium of a place, and it seems worth fighting and dying for.
This may not be the best movie this summer, and will definitely not be the best this year, but its obviously worth a watch, especially for its brilliant cinematography, soundtrack, 3D, and even the story. I will rate it 8/10, just because I found the culture, costumes and dialogues a little too unrealistic, even for a post- apocalyptic desert world.