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  • Writer's pictureJack Salvadori

Cannes #77 - "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" Review


George Miller takes us back to his iconic dystopian, post-apocalyptic Australian Wasteland in a reverse journey to discover the origins of Furiosa, played by a roaring Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road in 2013. Anya Taylor-Joy takes on the titular, fearless, character in her younger version. But you better “fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride”…

 

This time, however, the film’s engine is flooded. There was little doubt that this prequel would not manage to replicate the epic success of Fury Road, also presented at Cannes and swiping six Academy Awards, but Furiosa changes gear and takes a drastically dangerous U-turn. Miller is invested in expanding his world rather than focusing on the action, which is the fuel for the predecessor’s achievement. And so not only we go back to the familiar Citadel, but we get to see the Bullet Farm and Gas Town too.

But if Fury Road works it's because of its incessant rhythm, covering three hellish days for the gutsy Mad Max with very little narrative and relentless set pieces. Instead, Furiosa spans over fifteen years, divided into an idle chapter structure, filled with cringe exposition by two-dimensional characters who beg not to be taken seriously. The car chases are still mesmerising, and they definitely carry Miller’s uniquely entertaining touch, but they are massively reduced for exposition and backstories. Chris Hemsworth has fun playing the unhinged villain and warlord Dementus, while Taylor-Joy brings a very physical performance, having only about twenty lines of dialogues. And so we see her kidnapping from the female-led oasis that she dreams about in Fury Road, her eventual loss or childhood and rise to power among the ranks of the Citadel- basically what is already explained in the previous film. Thus the question, did we need a visual version of it? Overall, removing the expectations, the A-list cast, and inevitable glow from the previous film, Furiosa is but a very expensive B-movie that targets spectacle over substance. But for such purpose, two and a half hours is way too long. It feels like George Miller attempted to build on his universe and its mythology, aiming to craft an Australian Star Wars in the desert. But alas, the result is more an erratic, long, car ride when you’re not at the wheel.


2/5



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