Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Film Review

'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga' - Image © 2024 Warner Bros. Feature Productions Pty Limited and Domain Pictures, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Bronny Lane is an award-winning arts professional, indie filmmaker, entertainment publicist and writer. She was awarded an Arts Victoria Leadership Award and a Churchill Fellowship and is a graduate of Melbourne University. Bronny has also written for theatre and recently made her theatre directorial debut with 'Popera: Sex, Death and Politics’.

In the 1970s, George Miller introduced us to a character named Max. He was mad.

He was Mad Max, and he introduced the world to a dystopian future of misogyny and violence where women are breeders and men fight for water, weapons and fuel. A franchise followed with Tina Turner singing about not needing another hero and the rest is history as they say, with Tom Hardy delivering a blistering performance in 'Fury Road'.

Fast forward and we have 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga'.

Furiously good.

The original was shot around Victoria near Little River, northeast of Geelong and the main street of Clunes, a small country town near Ballarat. Fun fact, if you head to Clunes you’ll see not much has changed since the days of filming this iconic piece of Australian cinema.

You might wonder why I would open this review by providing an origin story of the first in the franchise, created by a then relatively unknown filmmaker. 'Mad Max' was in fact, George Miller’s debut feature-length directorial debut, setting him on the path to creating other masterpieces such as 'The Witches Of Eastwick' (1987), one of my personal favourites, and more recently the beautiful 'Three Thousand Years Of Longing'. I say this to give every single filmmaker on this planet who is just starting out a little bit of hope. You can have an idea for a story. You can make it on a budget. You can keep that story alive and then one day have the joy of seeing actors like Chris Hemsworth and Anya Taylor-Joy take that story to next level, out-of-this-world, mind-blowing excellence. Because this film, this 'Mad Max' story, the story of 'Furiosa' and her journey. . . Is so f-ing good, it’s brilliant! Apologies for the swear.

From start to finish, the cinematography is beautiful. Shot on location in and around the small Australian country towns of Hay and Silverton, you could be forgiven for thinking the crew had returned to Namibia, the location for 'Fury Road'.

The acting is brilliant. We are introduced to Dr Dementus played by Chris Hemsworth, and it is here that Hemsworth shines. Fake teeth, prosthetic nose and a towering, glowering inferno of muscle – it’s like he’s a skyscraper in a sea of sand. Hemsworth’s Dementus shows us that he’s more than his Sexiest Man Alive titles, more than the pretty boy from 'Home & Away', and the man who loves a hammer (Thor). He brings to Dementus depth, joy, sorrow. . . And always a tinge of insanity. He’s literally demented. You can’t help but wonder why Hemsworth isn’t playing more serious roles regularly – he has the acting chops, and I would love to see him in more than a Marvel franchise because my god, that man can act, even with a teddy bear strapped to his back!

Anya Taylor-Joy is also brilliant. She brings a quiet resolve to the role, and her eyes were made for the close-up. The intensity she brings in that down-the-barrel camera shot has to be seen to not only be believed but also felt – it’s like she’s looking into your soul from the big screen.

Told in chapters, my favourite of the entire film was chapter five. Miller builds the story from Furiosa’s childhood to womanhood out for revenge in a masterful way, which brings all sorts of feelings for our hero. Sometimes you want to yell at the screen and I think that’s the tell for a masterful story – when you are so engaged that you want to speak to the characters. Chapter five delivers some of the film's best action sequences, with a special mention to the 'Fury Road' scenes with the excellent Tom Burke who delivers a powerful performance as Praetorian Jack.

If you’re wondering if Max appears in the film, he does. Max is played by Jacob Tomuri and plays an important role in Furiosa’s journey. You won’t realise it, but you’ve seen him before as Tom Hardy’s stunt double in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'. Special mention to our young Furiosa played by Alyla Browne who is another brilliant young Australian actor to watch. We seem to grow them good down under.

'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga' is a masterful addition to the franchise and if you can, then you should see it on the IMAX screen where you feel fully immersed in the world. As though the monster trucks, bikes, war boys and cars could fly out of the screen and hit you at any moment.

Five stars. In fact, I give it ten stars. One hundred stars. There’s not enough stars. Bravo to Miller and team. This is a masterful piece of filmmaking.


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