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Mad Max

He rules the roads. 

Year: 1979 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by George Miller 
Starring: Joanne Samuel, Steve Bisley, Mel Gibson  
An image from Mad Max

A cracking double bill here, with the chance to see the dusty origins and fiery future of one of cinema’s strangest franchises.

Despite taking a break for weighty fare like Babe 2 and Happy Feet, George Miller (also director of Week 2’s Three Thousand Years of Longing) returned to his roots in 2015. The original Mad Max films had been schlocky Australian B-movies, starring Mel Gibson. Focussing on wild extravagances of action, they had amassed a weight of fan love, but it took decades for Miller to realise his vision of a fourth instalment. Light on story, the 1979 version found ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky battling revenging goons in the sun-baked outback - Miller himself is Australian, which only adds to their strange mythic power.

However, he returned all guns blazing for Fury Road in 2015, and was highly lauded for it, with many Oscar nominations (and wins) for an even madder prospect. This time, the franchise carved out a new origin myth: a post-apocalyptic hellscape overseen by cultish leader Immortan Joe, who enslaves women as mothers and rations water, from which Max’s madness springs.

Our titular hero is played by Tom Hardy, in another great physical performance of frowns and grunts - and equally heroic is Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, blazing into the desert to evade the warlord with five of his ‘wives’ in tow. Each new landscape and vehicle is more thrillingly realised and ear-splittingly impressive than the last, with pure adrenaline-pumping choreography; there’s no need for dialogue with action this exciting. As an exercise in action stakes and spectacle, it explodes off the screen.

Max King

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Screenings of this film:

2022/2023 Autumn Term (digital)