By Jamie Currie
Mad Max: Fury Road begins simply: Max (Tom Hardy) looking out over a fiery desert, pondering life and snacking on a two-headed lizard. Then he steps into his car, and the chase begins. A two-and-a-half-hour race sparked when Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) frees five women from the clutches of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and flees with them across the desert. Joe summons his fleet of retrofitted war cars and pursues them.
People unfamiliar with Mad Max might wonder, “What’s so special about yet another post-apocalyptic movie?” The answer lies somewhere in the combination of the impeccable effects, the strong characters and writer/director George Miller’s distinctive storytelling. Part of Mad Max’s beauty is its simplicity — it is essentially a feature-length chase, yet the combination of its practical effects, thematic complexity and unrelenting plot serves only to make the story more immersing. The film is complemented by powerful performances from Hardy (who is remarkably expressive given Max’s preference for emoting via grunts and gestures) and Theron (who steals the show with her portrayal of a one-armed post-apocalyptic hero). Given the film’s overall well-roundedness, its best picture nomination comes with little surprise.