Anya Joy Taylor is an unforgettable triumph with just 30 lines in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Anya Joy Taylor is an unforgettable triumph with just 30 lines in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a triumphant addition to the franchise (Picture: Jasin Boland)

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is the dirty, daring and dystopian hope to buoy this summer’s box office, on the back of a 45-year-old franchise, an untested action heroine and Chris Hemsworth stepping outside the long shadow of Thor.

Warner Bros is willing the movie to be a hit, and it has a lot to live up to as the fifth Mad Max movie and follow-up to 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which netted six Oscars out of an impressive ten nominations – alongside a healthy box office performance.

Luckily, Furiosa delivers all the pulse-pounding action and adventure hoped for, given extra edge by its stellar cast, led by Anya Taylor-Joy.

Telling the origin story of renegade warrior and soon-to-become Imperator Furiosa, who was introduced by Charlize Theron in Fury Road alongside Tom Hardy’s version of Mel Gibson’s original character Max Rockatansky, the film kicks off in high gear with her kidnap from her secluded and verdant home by a biker horde.

Furiosa is fortunate enough to have grown up in ‘a place of abundance’, as is wondrously repeated by her abductors as they zoom across the unforgiving Wasteland to tell their leader, Dr Dementus (Hemsworth).

The youngster knows the importance of keeping this secret, though, and across the film’s span of nearly two decades, never gives up hope of returning.

The film received a standing ovation at its Cannes premiere(Picture: Jasin Boland)

Anya Taylor-Joy only has approximately 30 lines of dialogue in the film, despite being the lead (Picture: Jasin Boland)

However, the intervening years are not kind to young Furiosa, who suffers through the trauma of losing her mother, living in a cage, and escaping a harem – plus, we eventually discover the grimace-inducingly brutal way in which she loses her arm.

It’s a full hour before Anya Taylor-Joy appears on screen, with the young iteration of Furiosa played by an impressively soulful Alyla Browne.

Taylor-Joy may be stepping into her first action role for Furiosa, but it fits like a glove for an actress who can say so much with her eyes and only has around 30 lines of dialogue.

The film premiered at the 77th Cannes Film Festival (Picture: Getty Images)

Her Furiosa is ferocious; a simmering volcano with more resilience than any of the men fighting over leadership and resources around her.

She comfortably proves herself capable of leading the latest entry in George Miller’s longstanding and beloved film franchise, but Hemsworth’s unexpectedly charming villain almost steals the film out from under her.

Hemsworth is wild and unhinged as Dementus (fittingly), off the Marvel leash that made him appear rather a straight-laced actor. That is not the case here as he alternately twinkles and rages as a vicious but desperate leader.

The two leads of the film have been dazzling the red carpet at Cannes (Picture: Shutterstock)

He’s also transformed by a faintly ridiculous prosthetic nose and dodgy teeth, teamed with a wiry beard, that all seems slightly at odds with the still gleamingly smooth skin of his superhero-sized biceps.

But with Dementus a man of such inconsistencies, it doesn’t matter too much. After all, he’s likely going to be too busy distracting audiences with his sampling of a ‘human blood sausage’ or getting his nipples ripped off.

Hemsworth plays Dr Dementus in the new film (Picture: AP)

As the latter suggests, Furiosa does not skimp on bloodthirsty violence. Miller manages to wield it with impressive precision, allowing the characters’ experiences to resonate without ever seeming gratuitous.

Miller has acknowledged that it took until this film for it to be allowed to be as Australian as it is, with British actor Tom Burke displaying pleasingly natural-sounding Aussie tones.

Many actors and crew members have also returned, some out of retirement, to support Miller in this triumphant prequel, which shows there’s still plenty of story left to tell in his version – and vision – of a post-apocalyptic Australian Outback.

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