Even before its release, early reactions to Mad Max: Fury Road painted the film as an action masterpiece that ranked among director George Miller's best works. However, preliminary response to upcoming releases can often be misleading, but then the franchise reboot/sequel hit theaters.
To say that Mad Max: Fury Road has since then been flooded with critical acclaim and an overwhelmingly warm response by audiences would be an understatement (read our review). Now the film - featuring Tom Hardy in the title role and a scene-stealing turn by Charlize Theron - can add one more accomplishment to its phenomenal theatrical run.
The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) has selected Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road as the best film of 2015, awarding it the organization's annual Grand Prix. FIPRESCI's history dates back to the 1920s, with sections in 50 nations from all across the world. In an open poll, its 493 members nominated films released for the award and then selected from four finalists.
The other 2015 films that were under consideration were Hou Hsiao-Hsien's The Assassin, László Nemes's Son of Saul and Jafar Panahi's Taxi. Miller will be acknowledged at the opening ceremony of the 63rd San Sebastián Film Festival later this month, where Mad Max: Fury Road will be screened.
Since its introduction in 1999, previous recipients of the FIPRESCI Grand Prix have included filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Haneke, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jafar Panahi, Pedro Almodóvar, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Richard Linklater. That's quite an accomplished group, and given the widespread love Miller's most recent film has seen, it's not surprising to see Mad Max: Fury Road on the receiving end of such recognition.
After all, the film has been universally praised for its imaginative practical effects, strong world-building and standout performances by the likes of Theron and Nicholas Hoult. Plus, the fact that much of its running time relies on visual storytelling likely translated into more international accessibility, as evidenced by talk of a silent cut of the film making its way to Blu-ray.
Needless to say, we're right with FIPRESCI on this one, having already declared Mad Max: Fury Road among our picks for the best films of the year (so far). Here's hoping all this love will motivate Miller to start work on his planned follow-up to this chapter of Max's story.
Mad Max: Fury Road is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download.