Mad Max Fury Road: 'Over the top' epic thrills critics

Top Gear meets Hieronymus Bosch in 'deranged' thriller with best female heroine since Alien

Mad Max Fury Road
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Post-apocalyptic thriller Mad Max: Fury Road, has received rave reviews from film critics ahead of its Cannes screening and UK cinema release later this week.

Fury Road, the first film to come out of Australian director George Miller's celebrated sci-fi franchise since Beyond Thunderdome in 1985, stars Tom Hardy as Max, the role made famous by Mel Gibson, and Charlize Theron.

Set in a desolate futuristic world, Fury Road follows former highway patrolman, Max, who is haunted by the memory of the loved ones he couldn't save. When Max is captured by a violent warlord, his only hope of escape is a woman called Furiosa (Theron). She, along with a group of former female captives known as the Five Wives, want him to guide them to safety across an immense and perilous desert.

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The violent, fast-paced epic has received widespread critical acclaim.

In the Daily Telegraph, reviewer Robbie Collin describes Fury Road as a "Krakatoan eruption of craziness". Car chases have always featured prominently in Mad Max, but Fury Road is almost nothing but a chase, says Collin, "with each high-octane action sequence shunting into the next at breakneck speed".

Collin says the spare dialogue and "dazzlingly choreographed" stunts, make Miller's film feel like "a great silent movie – albeit a very loud one".

Yes, it's "extravagantly deranged, ear-splittingly cacophonous, and entirely over the top", says Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. "It's like Grand Theft Auto revamped by Hieronymus Bosch, with a dab of Robert Rodríguez's From Dusk Till Dawn."

In The Times, Kate Muir agrees, calling Fury Road: "Top Gear directed by Hieronymus Bosch". Muir says the experience of watching the film is "terrific" but also "like being tossed into the mosh pit of a heavy-metal gig while racing at high speed across Earth's most unforgiving desert".

Muir also praises Charlize Theron, as the one-armed former soldier Furiosa, saying: "Not since Sigourney Weaver rose up in Alien have we seen a woman warrior of this mettle."

Charlize Theron is the biggest surprise in this "melt your face off" movie, says Jen Yamato on the Daily Beast. With her, Miller "vastly expands Mad Max's terrain" and asks: What does it mean to be a woman in the Wasteland?

Fury Road is also "a stark allegory", says Yamato. In it the one-percenters are hoarding the resources while of humanity heads toward certain death. But one lone wolf can't save the world by himself, says Yamato. The Wasteland needs another hero, "a furious woman to match its 'mad' man".

Fury Road will be screened out-of-competition at Cannes on 14 May and will be released in UK cinemas on 15 May.

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