A Wasteland Odyssey of Hope and Redemption

A Wasteland Odyssey of Hope and Redemption

Review: Furiosa – A Mad Max Saga

Furiosa – A Mad Max Saga transcends the boundaries of a typical action film. It delves into the origin story of Furiosa, the iconic warrior from Fury Road, weaving something that is narrative-rich with a smattering of biblical allusion, themes of resilience, and the enduring human spirit that seeks hope even amidst despair.

The film opens with a stark contrast. We meet a young Furiosa (Alyla Browne) in the “Green Place of Many Mothers,” a verdant haven untouched by the wasteland’s harsh realities. This idyllic setting evokes the Garden of Eden, a reminder of a world before the apocalypse. But paradise is fleeting. Raiders attack, mirroring the fall from grace, and Furiosa is thrust into a brutal world.

However, a seed of hope remains. Furiosa’s mother entrusts her with a peach pit, a symbol of their lost home and a reminder of life before the apocalypse. This simple object becomes a powerful anchor, a testament to the enduring power of hope and the possibility of renewal. 

The word “apocalypse” often conjures images of relentless violence and despair. In Furiosa, however, it takes on a deeper meaning.  It becomes a catalyst for revelation (not unlike the Biblical meaning of apocalypses meaning “the unveiling of secrets), a tearing down of the old world to make way for something new. The cruelty and greed that led to the wasteland’s creation continue, with warlords like Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) fighting over scraps. They represent the cycle of destruction that must be broken.

As Furiosa witnesses the endless carnage, a shift occurs within her. She transcends the desire for revenge and power that define the warlords. This change resonates with the radical message of Jesus, who challenged established norms and advocated for a more compassionate way of life. 

Furiosa rejects the “old ways” and chooses a different path. She yearns to build something better, a world free from the tyranny that destroyed the old one. This decision becomes her purpose, her driving force in the face of immense hardship.

Furiosa doesn’t shy away from the bleakness of the wasteland. Yet, amidst the dust and the debris, there are moments of quiet reflection. For much of the films’ runtime Furiosa (Anya Taylor Joy) is an observer, with later contemplations considering hate versus hope. These moments evoke the words of Isaiah, reminding us that even in the most desolate places, possibilities exist.

The film’s music underscores these moments of quiet contemplation. Often, after a pulse-pounding action sequence, the music fades, leaving us with the vastness of the desert and the faint hope peeking through the smoke and grime. Just as Isaiah proclaims, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19). Furiosa suggests that the seeds of hope can take root even in the most unlikely places.

Furiosa’s story extends beyond Furiosa itself, it explores the lore within the Mad Max universe and while we often think that prequels can often be redundant in nature, there is more to this story and the redemption arc that is complete at the end of Fury Road. The prequel helps us understand Furiosa’s motivation beyond what is depicted in Fury Road, where she ultimately leads a rebellion against tyranny and creates a haven for the oppressed. While Furiosa doesn’t depict the full arc of her journey, it offers a powerful glimpse into her transformation.

George Miller’s brutally picturesque imagination has given this film its recognisable colour palette and eccentric war engines, with the films action clearly being augmented with CGI which some critics have quibbled over, but ultimately it feels grounded in reality, unlike many Marvel films. He has said that this story was written prior to Fury Road to give Charlize Theron (who played Furiosa in Fury Road) a worthy back story for her to draw on in that film. The attention to detail is obvious, and Furiosa is much more than a box ticking exercise. New characters such as Dementus and Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke) help the film feel like much more than an extended chase through the wasteland.

Furiosa is a brutal, relentless, white-knuckle story about resilience, transformation and the unwavering pursuit of a better future, and the enduring human spirit that finds hope even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. 


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