Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max (1979, AUS) C-93m. SCOPE *** D: George Miller. Starring Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Roger Ward, Vince Gil. Tense, original action drama boosted Mel Gibson to stardom: He plays a highway patrolman in the near future, who may be the only one able to stop ruthless gang of punks led by 'Toecutter' Keays-Byrne, who pillage, rape and kill. Few science-fiction elements apart from the time setting, film isn't perfect (note some faults in plot coherency and dramatics in general) but very well-filmed and especially well-edited. Interesting, bizarre characters add to the unique feel of the movie. Brian May's score is effective despite being an obvious imitation of Bernard Herrmann's PSYCHO theme. First-time director Miller followed this with the even more impressive MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981). He states the science-fiction cult movie A BOY AND HIS DOG (1975) as a major inspiration for this film.


© Ron Altman