The Imortan is dead. Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Imortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road, and Toecutter in the original Mad Max, has passed at 73.
I was just watching the final 40 minutes of Fury Road last night (cause, as a rule, if I happen upon that film on cable, no matter where it is in the story, I stop down to watch the rest; and, when I’m finished, if I happen to see it on another of the movie channels starting at exactly the place I came in before, I turn over and watch it all again). Such a well-crafted, perfect film that drops you into a pre-built world with characters who were living lives before you got there (well, some of them) and will keep on living them after you depart (fewer still of them, I’m afraid). And you get the immense pleasure of getting to spend a couple hours watching what they do and the amazing machinery they get to drive across a fascinating and desolate hellscape.
Hugh Keays-Byrne as Imortan Joe was a truly great villain. His backstory and motivations, like that of most of the other characters, we are largely left to guess at based on the clues we’re given. But the clues are there if you’re paying attention.
I truly don’t think you need to have seen any previous Mad Max films to enjoy Fury Road. It gives you everything you need, which is kind of the case for each of the Mad Max films. They don’t carry a lot of baggage. If you have not seen it, I demand you stop down and do so. Easily the film I’ve enjoyed the most of the last decade.