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Review: Dazzling ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is a can’t miss thrill

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Tom Hardy in a scene from "Mad Max: Fury Road," in theaters on May 15. (Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

The silences in “Mad Max: Fury Road” are unsettling.

The moments are few and infrequent, but it’s not until the fiery roar of the engines and the thrashing of the guitars are suddenly stripped away that you can fully feel how deeply the film has flooded your being. The theater — and your heart — pulsates with the lack as you recover and wait for more.

It’s in the silences that director George Miller’s singular genius becomes evident, and for good reason: It’s the only time the film allows you to breathe.

Thirty years after Miller gave the world “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome,” he’s returned to his own post-apocalyptic world and created an exceptional, fearless and poetic masterpiece that’s primed to become a modern classic.

In this anarchic world, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is a lone wolf. As he tells us in the prologue, he’s a man whose past traumas have reduced him to a single instinct: Survival. Max’s only humanity seems to be in his haunting visions of a child asking for protection. Otherwise, he’s gone full animal. As Max, Hardy doesn’t so much speak. He grunts and growls and scurries for freedom.

But Max quickly gets entangled with others when the war lords of the wasteland put a fish hook in his neck and strap him on as a hood ornament to chase after the rogue Furiosa (Charlize Theron). She’s managed to escape the Citadel in a powerful, lumbering War Rig with the wives of their tyrannical leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who also played Toecutter in “Mad Max”).

Much of the film is spent with the women, and eventually Max, on the rig as they race across the desert away from the painted fighters on their tail. Furiosa, seeking redemption for untold sins, has made it her purpose to bring the wives to “the green place” — an idyllic haven she was taken from as a child.

The wives, played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton and Zo

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