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Film Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Updated on December 10, 2016
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In May 2015, George Miller released Mad Max: Fury Road, as the fourth installment in the Mad Max franchise. Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, John Howard, Richard Carter, and Angus Sampson, the film grossed $374.7 million at the box office.

Synopsis

Max teams up with the elite Imperator Furiosa to help a group of women fleeing across the wasteland from the tyrannical warlord Immortan Joe, who leads a post-apocalyptic city known as The Citadel. However, the wasteland is just as treacherous as Joe and his army of War Boys

Review

Thirty years after the release of the third film in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road is a great film that brings back the harshness of the wasteland and the bloodthirstiness of those who dwell in what’s essentially a two hour chase scene. That’s not bad either as it helps make it so the intensity of the situation Max, Furiosa and the runaway wives find themselves in never lets up. Even in the more dramatic moments where they’re not in any immediate danger, there’s always that feeling of how a group of Joe’s War Boys, his allies or even Joe himself could show up to continue wreaking havoc. It’s a wonderfully made modern throwback to the post-apocalyptic films of the past where survival was all that mattered. It doesn’t even try to shoehorn in a poorly written romantic subplot between the two main characters and the one inkling of romance between one of the wives and a War Boy doesn’t come to full fruition due to him performing a heroic sacrifice to make it so the rest of the group can continue onward.

What's interesting in this film where the concept of survival is so at the forefront is how many of the characters are surviving with notable handicaps, which makes their being able to survive all that more impressive. Furiosa is a prime example due to her left arm, which is mechanical, and she has quite the reputation, which demonstrates she’s known as a capable fighter.

Yet, she's just one incredibly adept character in a wasteland full of competently insane individuals, such as the Bullet Farmer. Being blinded from shrapnel after Furiosa snipes his headlights doesn’t stop him. Rather he’s content to duel wield submachine guns and assault rifles firing blindly in the hopes that he’ll hit something. However, Immortan Joe seems to be the craziest antagonist in the film who, though being a warmongering tyrant, believes himself to be tough, but fair and benevolent, seen in how he sparsely hands out water from the Citadel, but only does so in a short burst, telling the thirsty people that if they rely on water too much, they’ll become addicted to it. He also doesn’t think that his wives wanted to get away from him, believing that Furiosa manipulated them into running away. In an interesting complement to his tyrannical ways, he does seem to be a bit smarter than most in his position. Instead of just killing an underling that talks back to him, he’ll put up with it due to their usefulness and his inability to waste any of them. This is really highlighted with the Organ Mechanic who makes light of his unborn son’s death, which includes playing with the umbilical cord. A megalomaniacal sociopath in any other sort of film would execute him on the spot. However, Joe doesn’t because he’s the only doctor and Joe needs his skills.

As far as Max goes, the man has some great character development. Most of the story sees him actively avoiding any personal connection, going so far as to even refusing to give his name to Furiosa. And at the beginning of the film, he narrates that he’s not sure if he’s crazy or if it’s the rest of the world, coming to the conclusion that it’s him. But throughout the film, Furiosa helps him recover his humanity and when connecting the IV he had from being a blood bag to her, he opens his heart to her literally and figuratively. When he leaves the Citadel, he still has the tube, which exemplifies his regained faith in humanity and his ability to open up to others figuratively and literally. What’s more is that his first and last words in the film are his name, which make for excellent bookends.

5 stars for Mad Max: Fury Road

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinion

Awards won

Academy Awards

  • Best Achievement in Film Editing
  • Best Achievement in Costume Design
  • Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
  • Best Achievement in Sound Editing
  • Best Achievement in Production Design

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Editing
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Makeup and Hair

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Saturn Award

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)

AFT Awards, USA

  • Movie of the Year

African-American Film Critics Association Awards

  • Third Place - Top 10 Films

Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Awards

  • Best Film Editing

Allliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Awards - Female Focus Award

  • Best Female Action Star (Charlize Theron)

American Cinema Editors, USA Eddie Awards

  • Best Edited Feature Film - Dramatic

Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Awards

  • Fantasy Film

Austin Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Director

Australian Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography

Australian Film Institute Academy of Australian Cinema and Television Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Direction
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Editing
  • Best Original Music Score
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Sound
  • Best Visual Effects or Animation

Australian Film Institute Academy of Australian Cinema and Television Awards International Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Direction

Australian Production Design Guild Awards

  • Make-up & Prosthetic Make-up Design

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Motion Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Sound
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling
  • Best Stunt Ensemble
  • Second Place - Best Cinematography
  • Second Place - Best Costume Design

Black Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Second Place - Best Picture

Blue Ribbon Awards

  • Best Foreign Language Film

Boston Online Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Editing
  • Best Original Score
  • First Place - Ten Best Films of the Year

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards

  • Best Film Editing
  • Second Place - Best Film

Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Awards

  • Best Director
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Editing
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Hair & Makeup
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Action Movie
  • Best Actor in an Action Movie (Tom Hardy)
  • Best Actress in an Action Movie (Charlize Theron)

Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Film Editing
  • Second Place - Best Director
  • Second Place - Best Cinematography
  • Second Place - Best Score

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Art Direction/Production Design
  • Best Editing

Costume Designers Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Fantasy Film

Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards

  • Third Place - Best Director

Denver Film Critics Society

  • Best Director
  • Best Visual Effects

Detroit Film Critic Society, US Awards

  • Best Director

Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Second Place - Best Film

Empire Awards, UK

  • Best Soundtrack
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Makeup and Hairstlying
  • Best Production Design

Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Editor

Florida Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Film
  • Second Place - Best Art Direction/Production Design

Fotogramas de Plata

  • Best Foreign Film

Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association Dorian Awards

  • Visually Striking Film of the Year

Georgia Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Production Design

Gold Derby Awards

  • Motion Picture
  • Director
  • Production Design
  • Costume Design
  • Film Editing
  • Makeup/Hair
  • Sound
  • Visual Effects

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Favorite Movie of the Year
  • Best Director of the Year
  • Trippiest Movie of the Year
  • Coolest Character of the Year (Furiosa)
  • Best Music in a Movie
  • Best DVD of the Year
  • Best Line of the Year ("Oh, what a day! What a lovely day!")
  • Second Place - Best Sci-Fi Movie of the Year
  • Second Place - Best Special Effects of the Year
  • Second Place - Biggest Surprise of the Year
  • Second Place - Best Actress of the Year (Charlize Theron)
  • Second Place - Favorite Movie Poster of the Year
  • Second Place - Best Trailer of the Year
  • Second Place - Best Action Sequence of the Year (The Final Chase)

Hollywood Film Awards

  • Make-Up of the Year
  • Production Designer of the Year

Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Artisan Awards

  • Best Period and/or Character Makeup - Feature Motion Picture
  • Best Special Makeup Effects - Feature Motion Picture

Hollywood Music in Media Awards

  • Best Original Score - Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film

Houston Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Poster Design ('What a Lovely Day' Alternate)
  • Technical Achievement

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Movie
  • Best Action Movie

Indiana Film Journalists Association, US Awards

  • Best Director
  • Best Musical Score

Indiewire Critics' Poll

  • Best Film
  • Best Director
  • Second Place - Best Cinematography
  • Third Place - Best Original Score or Soundtrack

International Cinephile Society Awards

  • Best Editing
  • Third Place - Best Picture

International Online Cinema Awards

  • Best Director
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Internet Film Critic Society Awards

  • Best Action Film
  • Best Director

Iowa Film Critics Awards

  • Second Place - Best Picture
  • Second Place - Best Director

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Sierra Awards

  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Action Film

London Critics Circle Film Awards

  • Film of the Year
  • Director of the Year
  • British/Irish Actor of the Year (Tom Hardy)

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Production Design
  • Second Place - Best Picture
  • Second Place - Best Editing

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film

MTV Movie Awards

  • Best Female Performance (Charlize Theron)

National Board of Review, USA Awards

  • Best Film

National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA

  • Third Place - Best Cinematography
  • Third Place - Best Film
  • Third Place - Best Director

New York Film Critics, Online Awards

  • Best Cinematography

North Carolina Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Director

Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Director
  • Second Place - Best Film

Online Film & Television Association

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Sound Effects Editing
  • Best Stunt Coordination
  • Most Cinematic Moment (The Toxic Storm)
  • Best Movie Poster
  • Second Place - Best Cinematography
  • Second Place - Best Visual Effects
  • Second Place - Best Movie Trailer

Online Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Editing
  • Best Cinematography

Phoenix Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Director
  • Best Score

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Visual Effects

Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

  • Best Movie

San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Editing
  • Best Sound Design
  • Second Place - Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Second Place - Best Production Design
  • Second Place - Best Visual Effects

San Francisco Film Critics Circle

  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Film Editing

San Sebastián International Film Festival

  • FIPRESCI Film of the Year

Sant Jordi Awards

  • Best Foreign Film

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Artisan Awards

  • Mark A. Mangini (Sound Editing)
  • John Seale (Cinematography)
  • Outstanding Director of the Year Award

Satellite Awards

  • Best Cinematography

Seattle Film Critics Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Music, Original Score
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Sound Design

SESC Film Festival Brazil Awards - Audience Awards

  • Best Foreign Film

SESC Film Festival Brazil Awards - Critics Awards

  • Best Foreign Film
  • Best Foreign Director

SIYAD Turkish Film Critics Association Awards - Turkish Cinema Awards

  • Best Foreign Language Film

Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards

Best Director

  • Best Cinematography
  • Second Place - Best Picture

St. Louis Film Critics Association, US Awards

  • Best Editing
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Special Recognition for the stunt work
  • Second Place - Best Director

Utah Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography

Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Director

Village Voice Film Poll

  • Best Film
  • Best Director

Visual Effect Society Awards

  • Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature

Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Director
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Editing

Women Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Quality of the Sexes
  • Best Female Action Star (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Female Action Hero (Charlize Theron)

World Stunt Awards

  • Best Specialty Stunt






Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Motion Picture of the Year
  • Best Achievement in Directing
  • Best Achievement in Cinematography
  • Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Motion Picture - Drama
  • Best Director - Motion Picture

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Sound
  • Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Saturn Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Film
  • Best Director, Best Writing
  • Best Music
  • Best Editing
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Make-Up
  • Best Special Effects
  • Best DVD/Blu-Ray Collection

Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Film Music or Score

American Society of Cinematographers Awards

  • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases

Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards - Silver Condor

  • Best Foreign Film not in the Spanish Language

Austin Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Screenplay

Australian Film Institute Australian Academy of Film and Television Awards

  • Best Lead Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Costume Design
  • People's Choice Award for Favourite Australian Film

Australian Film Institute Australian Academy of Film and Television International Awards

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)

Australian Screen Sound Guild Awards

  • Andrew Plain Award For Best Film Sound Design
  • Feature Film Soundtrack of the Year
  • Best Achievement in Sound for Film Sound Mixing

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Original Score

Awards of the Japanese Academy

  • Best Foreign Film

Bodil Awards

  • Best Non-American Film

British Society of Cinematographers Awards

  • Best Cinematography in a Feature Film

Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Camerimage Awards - Golden Frog

  • Main Competition

Casting Guild of Australia Awards

  • Best Film Casting

Casting Society of America, USA Awards

  • Best Film Casting

Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Actor of the Year (Tom Hardy)
  • Best Picture

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Original Score

Cinema Audio Society, USA Awards

  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures - Live Action

Cinema Bloggers Awards, Portugal

  • Best North American Film

Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)

Denver Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Science-Fiction/Horror Film
  • Best Original Score

Directors Guild of America, USA Awards

  • Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film

Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)

Empire Awards, UK

  • Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • Best Actor (Tom Hardy)
  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Director
  • Best Film
  • Best Visual Effects

Environmental Media Awards, USA

  • Feature Film

Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Script/Screenplay
  • Best Music

Florida Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Score
  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)

Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association Dorian Awards

  • Director of the Year (Film or Television)
  • Film of the Year

Georgia Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Ensemble

Gold Derby Awards

  • Lead Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Original Score
  • Ensemble Cast
  • Cinematography

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Best Actor of the Year (Tom Hardy)
  • Most Memorable Scene in a Movie (Dust Storm Chase)

Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Artisan Awards

  • Best Special Makeup Effects - Feature Motion Picture
  • Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling - Feature Motion Picture

Hollywood Post Alliance, US Awards

  • Outstanding Sound - Feature Film

Houston Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Score

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form

Indiana Film Journalists Association, US Awards

  • Best Picture

Indiewire Critics Poll Awards

  • Best Lead Actress (Charlize Theron)

International Cinephile Society Awards

  • Best Director
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Production Design

International Film Music Critics Awards

  • Film Music Composition of the Year (Brothers in Arms)

Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film

Irish Film and Television Awards

  • Best International Film

Jupiter Awards

  • Best International Film
  • Best International Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best International Actor (Tom Hardy)

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Vincent Koehler Award for Outstanding Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Film

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Sierra Awards

  • Best Picture

Location Managers Guild Outstanding Achievement Awards

  • Outstanding Locations in a Period Film

London Critics Circle Film Awards

  • Technical Achievement of the Year (Colin Gibson for production design)
  • Technical Achievement of the Year (John Seale for cinematography)

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Music in a Feature Film
  • Best Sound Editing - Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Film

MTV Movie Awards

  • Best Hero (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Villain (Hugh Keays-Byrne)
  • Best Fight (Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy for Imperator Furiosa vs. Max Rocksteady)

North Carolina Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Narrative Film

Online Film & Television Association Film Awards

  • Best Casting
  • Best Costume Design

Online Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)

PGA Awards

  • Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Cinematography

Robert Festival

  • Best American Film

San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Use of Music in a Film

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Picture

Sant Jordi Awards

  • Best Actress in a Foreign Film (Charlize Theron)

Satellite Awards

  • Best Sound
  • Best Visual Effects

Seattle Film Critics Awards

  • Best Ensemble Cast

St. Louis Film Critics Association, US Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Score

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • Choice Movie: Scene Stealer

Toronto Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director

Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Film

Village Voice Film Poll

  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
  • Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature

Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Actress (Charlize Theron)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Score



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