The Miller’s Tale

Mick Ferris

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (15, 148 minutes)

Working for George Miller is not an easy gig by any means. Cast and crew on the 2015 epic Mad Max: Fury Road spent weeks working in searing desert heat with tempers becoming frayed, especially between stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy who famously clashed explosively on set.

Now, after may delays, we have the prequel – an origin story for the character Imperitor Furiosa set over a 15-year period from her abduction as a child by a biker horde led by Chris Hemsworth’s Dementus to the point leading up to the Fury Road film and her eventual meeting with Max Rockatansky.

With Miller, you pretty much know what you’re going to get – a series of lengthy action sequences, mostly involving a pursuit, with a storyline that would barely fill the back of an envelope.

But it’s unlikely anyone goes to a Mad Max film for subtle exposition and denoument. One action sequence alone took 78 days to film with 200 stunt performers working every day.

This is the film equivalent of a thrash metal album – fast and noisy.

However, some of the non chase action is decidedly dodgy with movement obviously speeded up in post production and some CGI additions that look like the job was given to a work experience kid on day release from a young offenders unit.

Young Alyla Browne (who can also be seen in the latest giant spidery horror Sting) does a great job as the young Furiosa, who is taken from her home, a secret oasis of green in the middle of the barren wasteland of post apocalypse Australia, and held as Dementus seeks to find the location of her idyllic home after her kidnappers are slaughtered on the ride back to camp.

After a failed uprising against an outpost known as The Citadel, the girl is traded to Batman villain Bane lookalike Immortan Joe (the main baddie in Fury Road) as a teenage addition to his harum, soon escaping the amorous advances of Joe’s son Rictus Erectus (you think that’s bad, his brother’s name is Scrotus) only to stay hidden in plain sight amongst them pretending to be a boy, growing into Anya Taylor-Joy, whose striking features usually act as a magnet to camera lenses, although here, with some already questionable decisions going on, she looks like a hybrid of the New Zealand singer Lorde and Atila Battle Angel.

Still, for all the hardship she suffered during filming, Taylor-Joy certainly throws herself wholeheartedly into the heavy duty physicality of the role and makes a hugely effective action herione as, driven by Tom Burke’s big fuel tanker and the need for revenge on Dementus, the saga plays out like a futuristic spaghetti western.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is the largest budget blockbuster to be filmed in Australia so far and with two Fury Road sequels in the pipeline Miller is likely to have his hands full for some time to come, something his regular crew probably has mixed feelings about.

RATING: 6/10


Mick Ferris

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