May 15, 2024

anya-taylor-joy, furiosa, george miller, screening room


For years, George Miller’s post-apocalyptic saga has been all about Max Rockatansky. The Road Warrior – first played by Mel Gibson and, in 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, by Tom Hardy – has been the iconic lone wolf at the heart of these films. But his latest chapter Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga flips it, brilliantly, switching focus to the breakout character from Fury Road

Played originally by Charlize Theron, Furiosa was every bit the equal to Max, as she led a posse of female escapees from The Citadel, the impregnable fortress ruled by the foul-looking Immortan Joe. Miller now backtracks fifteen years, giving us Furiosa’s origin story, in this thrilling blockbuster, packed to the rafters with insane action set-pieces perfectly tailored for the big screen.

Across five chapters, the film begins with Furiosa as a girl (Alyla Browne, who also featured in Miller’s Three Thousands Years of Longing). She falls into the hands of Dementus (Chris Hemsworth, ditching his Thor persona for some villainous fun), the leader of a gang of marauders who has designs on The Citadel and finding the “place of abundance” where Furiosa comes from.

When Dementus tortures and kills her mother in front of her, Furiosa’s fury rises, inspiring a quest for revenge that will stay with her for years, even after she is taken by Immortan Joe for his baby-producing harem. As she grows into a young woman (The Northman’s Anya Taylor-Joy), she learns how to cultivate her warrior skills, thanks in part to Tom Burke’s Praetorian Jack, a highly skilled driver for Immortan Joe who has completed more runs on Fury Road than anyone else. This all leads to the film’s staggering central sequence, an aerial attack on the armoured War Rig that includes predators on flying motorbikes. In one jaw-on-the-floor moment, a car even flips up onto the bonnet on the War Rig as it’s in full motion. If The Fall Guy, the recent movie with Ryan Gosling, suggests stunt men deserve an Oscar, the stunt team – led by Guy Norris – deserve every award going.

Likewise, the sheer craft on Furiosa – the costumes, the sets, the cinematography – astounds. And whether it’s a moody Burke or a menacing Hemsworth, the performances ace it. At its heart, Browne and Taylor-Joy shoulder the burden of bringing Furiosa to the screen with aplomb and, in their hands, she’s one of the great modern heroines of Hollywood action cinema.

George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga staring Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth and Alyla Browne is screening at the 77th Cannes Film Festival and will release in cinemas 24 May