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A Mad Max Saga strap in for cinema at its most soul-pricklingly primal : Furiosa

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Published Time: 15.05.2024 - 22:40:23 Modified Time: 15.05.2024 - 22:40:23

Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth star in George Miller’s pile-driving, stunt-filled new follow-up to 2015’s Fury Road Jasin Boland, Courtesy of Warner Bros

Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth star in George Miller’s pile-driving, stunt-filled new follow-up to 2015’s Fury Road

: Jasin Boland, Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Alright, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A train is hammering across an arid landscape when suddenly, out of the wilds, bandits descend. Scrambling along the vehicle’s flanks like ants on a picnic basket, the raiders daringly do battle with the crew. Bodies are yanked from windows, and sizzling bundles of dynamite lobbed back in, as the ground hurtles treacherously past.

This could be a description of a sequence from a western made 100 years ago. In fact, it’s the centrepiece action scene from one of the most anticipated blockbusters of 2024. But then Furiosa, the new Mad Max film, which premiered at Cannes tonight, is cinema at its most soul-pricklingly primal. It’s the sort of film that makes you feel like the past century of Hollywood might have been a detour, and the machine has now been hauled back on course.

Mad Max’s creator, George Miller, is a known silent-film fiend – it was no coincidence that his previous entry in the series, 2015’s Oscar-winning Fury Road, shared both its structure and breakneck spirit with Buster Keaton’s The General. And with its adrenalin-jabs of fast motion and pared-down approach to dialogue (as Furiosa herself – a younger version of the character played in the previous film by Charlize Theron – lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy has only around 30 lines), this latest entry’s debt to the olden days is every bit as plain.

Its debt to the even older days, however, is something else. Furiosa’s posters are selling the film as “a Mad Max saga” – and while the S-word is often just a marketing euphemism for “long”, here it’s entirely correctly applied. Miller and his co-writer Nico Lathouris have structured their screenplay like an epic told by firelight. 

: JASIN BOLAND

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