Review by John Campbell
My companion, who worked briefly on the scenes of this movie that were shot in Sydney, nudged me confidingly. ‘See that one with the red hair?’ Fanging across the desert, Max had come upon five gorgeous girls in varying degrees of white undress. ‘That’s Elvis’s granddaughter. She’s the one who married the stuntman from Dunoon.’ We whispered for a while about whether she resembled the King. Nobody would have heard us above the racket, nor would anybody have missed any dialogue for, though we were perhaps thirty minutes into proceedings, it seemed only a dozen words had been spoken. As Max, Tom Hardy has barely more lines than Jean Dujardin in The Artist. I appreciate that words count for nothing in an action flick, but this is ridiculous. Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is a female version of Max. She’s trying to make her way home across a post-apocalyptic landscape peopled by enslaved, grotesque humans from the worlds of Bosch and Jodorowsky’s El Topo. They become allies and are chased hither and yon by fabulously outfitted and luridly painted bad guys.
Narrative’s usual requirements are accorded grudging acknowledgement, as the ‘screenplay’ deals fleetingly with the dire future of water on our planet and superficially with the foolishness and manipulative nature of religion – Nux (Nicholas Hoult) believes that if he dies he will live again – otherwise there is nix in the story. To be fair, there are some praiseworthy elements in George Miller’s hysterically hyped resurrection of his leather-clad road warrior, not least of which is the number of roles found in it for so many jobbing Australian actors. The CGI is astonishing, the blokes swaying on poles attached to speeding Humvees is cool, and Furiosa’s prosthetic arm is very convincing. But for some of us – clearly not in a majority that might affect the box office – it is dismaying that the art of cinema has come to this: two hours of smoke and mirrors, of head-hammering, projectile bullshit. My companion and I concurred – Riley Keough does look like Elvis.