Warning: Contains plot spoilers
The Scoop – As human and subversive as it is noisy and brash, Mad Max: Fury Road is a journey like no other.
In the post-apocalyptic desert that was once Australia, former warrior for justice Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) has been reduced to his basest survival instincts. Captured by men who serve the tyrannical warlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), Max is imprisoned and has his blood drained into sick soldier Nux (Nicholas Hoult).
Meanwhile Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), one of Joe’s lieutenants, is sent on a mission to collect gasoline from a nearby town. But en-route she drives her truck wildly off course, and Joe realises that she has kidnapped five of his ‘wives’ – young women kept for breeding – and is making a desperate bid for freedom.
When Nux and the other soldiers set off in pursuit, Max is brought along – and so begins a terrifying odyssey through the wasteland.
So I finally got around to watching Mad Max: Fury Road, a film which people have been going on about for what feels like years, and which completes my 2016 Best Picture-a-thon.
I’m not generally an action fan. In fact a car chase scene is normally enough to send me to sleep, and Fury Road is effectively a two-hour car chase scene. But thankfully it’s got far more to offer than that; not least, the fact that it’s probably the most entirely bonkers thing ever committed to celluloid.
The film’s not perfect but it’s easy to see why it has been such a hit, both with critics and audiences. It provides the kind of exciting, noisy, crowd-pleasing action which multiplex audiences are looking for, whilst also slyly subverting some major blockbuster tropes (when did you last see an action film make women its foremost heroes?). There’s room for quieter human moments, too, amid the chaos. Best of all, it does what any good piece of art should do: it conjures a world all of its own, in this case a wrecked landscape full of haunting images and bizarre, evocative details. I wish I’d had the chance to see it in the cinema, and be fully immersed in its demented vision.
- Did you enjoy the film, and why, or why not? If you have seen the other Mad Max films, how did Fury Road compare?
- What expectations do we normally bring to action films, and what is the appeal of the genre? Are you a fan of action in films in general, and how does Mad Max: Fury Road stand up against genre classics?
- Which action scene in the film would you rate as the best, and why? Was the film’s approach to its action sequences original or unusual in any way?
- How did you feel about Max, as portrayed by Tom Hardy? Do you think he is the hero of the film, and why or why not? What kind of person is he when we meet him, and how does he change of the course of the story?
I exist in this wasteland, a man reduced to a single instinct: survive. – Max
- How did you react to the character of Imperator Furiosa? What makes her an unusual or interesting character, particularly for an action film protagonist? What is she looking for over the course of the film, and does she find it?
- How would you describe the post-apocalyptic world portrayed by the film? What does its culture revolve around, and how have people been changed and warped by its hardships? Did any pieces of production design particularly stand out to you?
- To what extent does Mad Max touch on real-world issues, such as feminist or ecological concerns? Can an action film, or a film set in a far-fetched world like this one, also explore serious themes?
- How did you feel about the relationships that develop between the characters on the rig – between Max and Furiosa, between Nux and Cheedo (Riley Keough), and between the wives? Did Fury Road have enough of a ‘human element’ to engage you emotionally?
Hope is a mistake. If you can’t fix what’s broken, you’ll go insane. – Max
- What enables the characters to keep hoping, or to discover hope again over the course of the story? Do you think hope can be ‘a mistake’ in our own world, and why or why not?