Miller and Max is the story of two heroes. One, a leather jacket-clad road warrior whose adventures in a dystopian future have made an indelible imprint on global popular culture. The other, the artist who created him: a softly spoken son of Greek and Turkish migrants, whose life charters a spectacular course from a tiny Queensland town to the highest echelons of Hollywood. In a sense the two men's personalities could not be more different. Max Rockatansky is ravaged by personal demons and intolerant of others: an impetuous, bitter, violent loner. George Miller is patient, collaborative and perfectionist: a filmmaker with big visions and slow, meticulous turn around times. Also, a qualified doctor with experience working in hospital emergency wards.
George Miller would make his first film, Mad Max in 1976 after raising $300,000 from family and friends and hiring a no-name actor, Mel Gibson. Some of his team would be paid in slabs of beer. Edited in his kitchen at home, the film would go on to gross more than $100 million worldwide and become the most profitable film ever made, a title it kept for over two decades. Miller would go on to make three more Mad Max films over three and half decades culminating in Fury Road in 2015, which against all odds wins a record breaking six Academy Awards, the largest haul of an Australian film in history. In between times with both success and failure in Hollywood from Babe to Happy Feet and more, Miller's quiet determination and audacious film making is never more apparent than in the Mad Max universe.
Written with the cooperation of a role call of cast, crew, family and associates, Miller and Max gets behind the scenes and on set, as well as behind Miller's sensible-sounding camouflage to reveal what's really inside the man — which is more than a little Max Rockatansky. Both forces seem to come out of nowhere; both remain to this day huge forces in the zeitgeist and are truly heroes of our time.
About the Author
Luke Buckmaster is the Guardian Australia's film critic. He has been writing extensively about cinema for two decades.