A Mad Max saga’, or the depletion of a saga’s resources – Shield Smart

Official Selection – Out of Competition

Despite a twisted title, it’s a delight to welcome back to the Cannes Film Festival the latest installment in the frenetic epic by the soon-to-be octogenarian Australian filmmaker George Miller. The futuristic saga – which foretold the depletion of the planet’s resources and the return of chaos to claim them – was inaugurated with dazzling success in 1979 with Mad Maxa post-apocalyptic, ultra-violent action film cobbled together in the depths of Australia’s arid zones.

Who would have thought then that this rustic homage to the metaphysical Vanishing Point (1971), by Richard C. Sarafian (1930-2013), diamond in the rough of New Hollywood, was destined for such commercial glory? Put on hold in 1985 with Beyond Thunderdomethe saga was regenerated in 2015 with Fury Roadthe series’ biggest hit, already revealed in previews at Cannes to feverish, good-natured enthusiasm.

There’s every reason to believe that, in addition to its own qualities, the film owes its warm reception partly to the saga’s 30-year absence (nostalgia is an excellent fuel for desire), and partly to a weariness of the spectacle offered on screens by the superhero monopoly.

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Compared to this winning comeback – its mastery remaining in the memory no less than Charlize Theron’s charisma in the role of Empress Furiosa – it has to be said that Angry lacks a few arguments to make, once you leave behind the kaleidoscope of crazy chases that frame each opus in the series. This story, which chronologically predates Fury Roadeclipses the figure of Mad Max (played in this movie by Tom Hardy) and makes Furiosa’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) youth, a character who will turn out to be rather ghostly, the center of this new plot.

Abducted as a child by the aptly named Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) and his clique of barbarian bikers, who murdered her mother, the heroine will, following a peace negotiation between these two rival powers, join the army of martyrs of Immortan Joe, the morbid steel-masked leader discovered in Fury Road. Aided by a seductive outsider (Tom Burke) who offers her protection, Furiosa will both emancipate herself from Immortan’s power and find Dementus to exact her just vengeance on him.

A fake training film

The problem here is that we’re not quite sure which saint or demon to root for. Taylor-Joy, who replaces Theron, plays a young heroine-in-training, muffled and mute, who doesn’t force attention. Immortan Joe is played by Lachy Hulme. Burke doesn’t have enough scenes to make us care about his elegance.

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