31 May 2024

'Lady and Gentlemans, start your engines!' Furiosa has finally hit cinemas

| Jarryd Rowley
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Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is the latest film in the iconic franchise and is one of the best films of 2024. Photo: Warner Bros.

Late in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the film’s villain Dementus asks the title character the question: “Do you have it in you to make it epic?”.

Now, I won’t speak about Furiosa’s response because that falls into spoiler territory, but if you were to ask the same question to director George Miller about making a prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, his answer would be, hold my ‘gussoline!’.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga follows the title character [Anya Taylor-Joy] and her journey from a child kidnapped by a group of post-apocalyptic bike worshippers to the badass we see in Mad Max: Fury Road.

In short, this movie is fantastic and for reasons that I wasn’t expecting.

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As a fan of the franchise, particularly Fury Road, I was hoping for more non-stop action similar to the almost two-hour car chase in the previous film. While there is plenty of action in Furiosa, the reason I believe it’s elevated above other action movies released in the past 10 to 15 years is because of its unique world-building and strange cast of characters.

Despite universal acclaim, Fury Road does get minor complaints about the lack of context given to its new characters and environments. Furiosa fills in these blanks and serves almost like a companion piece. Questions like, who is Imortan Joe, what are Gas Town and Bullet Farm and are there other groups in the Wasteland are all answered here and the results are incredible.

Places like Gas Town are so realistic. In this case, it looks and feels like a medieval castle with a metal aesthetic, almost like a car yard turned into a kingdom complete with a petrol-filled moat – and it is brilliant.

The biggest takeaway for me however was Chris Hemsworth’s performance as Dementus. In a year of stacked villains including Fruad Rautha from Dune and Proximus Caeser from Planet of the Apes, Dementus is hands-down the best of 2024 and maybe even the decade so far.

Dementus is the leader of the group that kidnaps Furiosa and he is utterly unhinged. Hemsworth is having a field day in this role, yet unlike his turn as Thor, it’s less improv and more character acting and I was there for it.

Dementus is evil, there’s no two ways about it. He uses medieval torture tactics, he betrays people left, right and centre and he’s vile in presentation but because he is performed with this oddly charismatic charm, you almost root for him.

Hemsworth is endlessly quotable in the role and he brings the Aussie flair to an already unapologetically Australian film. It is, in my opinion, the best performance of his career.

The supporting cast is also top shelf. It’s a who’s who of Aussie TV actors and I had plenty of fun trying to pick where I’d seen a lot of the cast before.

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The action was as creative as I’ve ever seen. Furiosa brings a new gold standard to filming car chases and moving setpieces, even if the greenscreen can be a little jarring in part.

For those living in the Riverina, you may be able to pick the location where one of the extended chases was filmed.

The editing and direction also need to be applauded. Countless tracking shots were used during action scenes to increase tension, frame rate drops were used to up the feeling of anxiety, and extreme closeup zooms were utilised to provide emotion that words just could not convey. It was a film-making masterclass.

Now people will criticise the CGI, It wasn’t always perfect and in that regard, I do feel like Fury Road has the edge. Furiosa, however, isn’t about the setpieces as impressive as some of them are, and is more about the story of our lead character. Director George Miller proved he is more than just a stylish director and can deliver a phenomenal script as well.

Miller has steered clear from typical Australian stories and instead has created a fantasy world based in Australia, unlike anything any form of Aussie media has ever produced.

Furiosa is incredible and is a superb addition to the Mad Max franchise even if it doesn’t feature the iconic protagonist in his leather jacket and modded Interceptor.

Original Article published by Jarryd Rowley on Riotact.

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