Published on May 25th, 2024 | by Harris Dang

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – Film Review

Reviewed by Harris Dang on the 23rd of May of 2024
Universal Pictures presents a film by George Miller
Produced by Doug Mitchell and George Miller
Written by George Miller and Nico Lathouris
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Alyla Browne, Lachy Hulme, Nathan Jones, Josh Helman, John Howard, Angus Sampson, Charlee Fraser, Quaden Bayles, Daniel Webber, Jacob Tomuri, and Elsa Pataky
Edited by Margaret Sixel and Eliot Knapman
Running Time: 148 minutes
Rating: MA15+
Release Date: the 23rd of May 2024

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga tells the story of its titular heroine, whose first appearance in Mad Max: Fury Road had made a huge impression amongst critics and audiences. As portrayed by Charlize Theron, her formidable presence, her insurmountable strength, her path to redemption and her tenacity for what is right had people wanting to see more of her story as to how she became the warrior woman that she is.

In the latest film, Furiosa is portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy, a strikingly talented actress in her own right who tends to undertake roles that showcase women who tap into their seething anger as a means of fighting patriarchal rule. Whether it would be a man with multiple personalities, an indoctrination of chefs in a secret island, or religious rule in a period setting, Taylor-Joy is up for any challenge. We now have Chris Hemsworth who is branching outside the norm of superhero film fare and the acclaimed director George Miller returning to his creation he started over four decades ago. After the plaudits of Fury Road, Miller has a lot to live up to. Does he have it in him to make it epic?

Told through 5 chapters over a 148-minute runtime, the film spans over approximately 15 years as it chronicles the story of Furiosa as hinted in Fury Road. Her kidnapping from her home, her self-imposed silence under the rule of her captor, Dementus (Chris Hemsworth), her first meeting with her future leader Immortan Joe (formerly played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, now played by Lachy Hulme), her time as a soldier and mechanic under the leadership of Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke) and her eventual ascension to saviour of the wives of Immortan Joe.


The timeline alone reveals that Furiosa is not a rehash of Fury Road. While the latter aims for a streamlined, adrenaline thrill-ride, the former aims for an expansive, character-driven, and increasingly fantastic approach to its storytelling. In fact, it is so expansive and immersive that it makes Fury Road feel like an extended epilogue. While that may raise a few eyebrows in how excessive backstory can ruin the certain mystique, Furiosa is brimming with such passion and heart behind its storytelling that it improves on Fury Road.

Proving that Miller is no one-trick pony in any degree, he takes advantage of the larger tapestry in establishing The Wasteland as he draws from inspirations including the Bible, the works of painter John Waterhouse, films from the silent era, ancient history on warfare among other things. The magnificent vision on display (supported by returning collaborators including composer Junkie Xl, editor Margaret Sixel, costume designer Jenny Beaven, production designer Colin Gibson, action coordinator Guy Norris) in finding such frenetic yet eloquent beauty through something so desolate and brutal still holds water. Not only does he provide gloriously cinematic spectacle (through lensing by Simon Duggan), all the sets and production design prove enjoyably bonkers in is maximalism yet still amazing character-based. But the best thing is that the contrast of the desolation of the wasteland and the beauty of nature in the titular role proves amazingly effective in conveying her inner turmoil.

Miller and his long-time collaborator Nico Lathouris never forget the arcs of his characters, as they embody the heart of the film. They may look like character archetypes at first glance, they are all drawn with inner conflicts (Furiosa, with her dwindling sense of humanity upon her seething anger for revenge), idiosyncrasies (the larger-than-life persona of Dementus alongside his lust for power contradicting his glimmers of heart) and subtleties (Praetorian Jack’s ingrained acceptance of defeat and understated cynicism burying his sense of hope) that make them enjoyably overstated caricatures as well as three-dimensional beings worth sympathising or understanding.

The cast all hold up on their end in imbuing heart, energy, and conviction to their characters. Tom Burke brings charisma and an understated dignity to the part that his makes his bond with Furiosa easy to believe in. The shared chemistry he has with Taylor-Joy through their taciturn demeanour, longing glances and gradual intimacy is palpable and provides substantial heart to the film. Hemsworth brings a boisterous energy, unpredictability, and menace to the role of Dementus as he nails the charisma and power-hungry side as well as the depth of understanding that makes him somewhat relatable to Furiosa.

And of course, there’s Taylor-Joy herself. Saddled with an immense task in embodying a role that was played to acclaim by Charlize Theron as well as carrying a blockbuster with meagre lines of dialogue sounds near impossible to pull off. Yet under the guidance of George Miller, Taylor-Joy manages to pull it off with flying colours. The headstrong mettle that she inhabits through her striking physical presence, the violent rage that comes through her guttural grunts and her spark of humanity that is expressed so vividly through her eyes, means Taylor-Joy is wonderful in the role. Special mention must go to Alyla Browne who plays young Furiosa. She proves to be as equally enthralling as her older counterpart.

But what about the action, one asks? Vehicular mayhem? Check. Numerous explosions and pyrotechnics? Check. Tumultuous environmental occurrences? Check. Stuntwork that effortlessly tip-toes the line between life and death? Check. Miller and action coordinator Guy Norris have not slacked off in unleashing the set-pieces as they put the pedal to the metal with rip-roaring fury. While there is plenty of variety in terms of action (including physical chase scenes, hand-to-hand combat, gunplay etc.), the true standout is the second act War Rig scene that lasts 15 minutes. With such clarity in its framing, the clever storytelling in its subversion of cause and effect and the stuntwork on display, it is bound to get people pumped.

If Mad Max: Fury Road was the cinematic equivalent of a highly concentrated energy drink Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is the cinematic equivalent of a bountiful 5-course meal. Guzzle it all down because George Miller has done it again.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – Film Review Harris Dang

Summary: If Fury Road was the cinematic equivalent of a highly concentrated energy drink Furiosa is the cinematic equivalent of a bountiful 5-course meal. Guzzle it all down because George Miller has done it again.



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