Mad Max Does Genesis

Furiosa begins with a retelling of the biblical Fall. After its apocalypse comes something new.

One of the first lines of dialogue in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a question: “As the world falls around us, how must we brave its cruelties?”

Across its 148-minute running time, Furiosa offers various responses to that inquiry, presenting a post-apocalyptic set of scenarios bound in blood, gasoline, and bullets. Ultimately, the film settles on hope—however foolish it may seem—as the only way forward. The desolation of what’s old, it insists, can make a way for ‘all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

George Miller returns to direct this spinoff and prequel to his thunderous 2015 epic, Mad Max: Fury Road. That film took place over the course of three days and two nights; Furiosa occurs over almost two decades, told in five pulse-pounding chapters. Miller takes his time exploring the transformation of an innocent young girl into the liberation warrior we find in Fury Road.

We first meet an adolescent Furiosa (Alyla Browne) with her mother (Charlee Fraser) in their home, the Green Place of Many Mothers. The rest of the world is a barren wasteland, ravaged by the compounding effects of climate change and nonstop warfare. The Green Place, by contrast, is a literal Garden of Eden, rife with foliage, wildlife, and fresh water. In a playful riff on the Genesis story, Furiosa opens the film by picking a ripe peach from a tree.

All too soon, paradise is lost. Marauders kidnap Furiosa, seeking to bring knowledge of the Green Place to their leader, Dementus (Chris Hemsworth), a cruel and histrionic warlord who dreams of plundering the abundance for himself. Unable to save her daughter, Furiosa’s mother gives her a peach pit to remember home by and urges her to find her way back. From the moment Furiosa …

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