Junkie XL – Mad Max: Fury Road OST

My view on the intense soundtrack of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Once George Miller’s stunning reboot of Mad Max series hit the big screens, the world went completely nuts. The ridiculously brilliant cinematography matched with breathtaking pace of the film defined a whole new level of entertainment. One shouldn’t forget that this brutal yet fascinating picture, wouldn’t be so exceptional if not for the dynamic soundtrack by the Dutch composer, Tom Holkenborg a.k.a. Junkie XL.

The official soundtrack of “Mad Max: Fury Road” exhibits what is absolutely best in George Miller’s amazing flick. It is uplifting and spacious, thanks to complex parts of string instruments, but at the same time overwhelming, when the drum section hits the speakers. There is a lot of electronics in it, which could be heard in the final effect of Holkenborg’s work – there is always the risk of overusing it, at least for me. Fortunately, this non-orchestral mixture suits the vivid, strange world of Max Rockatansky and Furiosa.

It’s hard to say whether this soundtrack can make it to the main film prizes, take Oscars for example. It’s a bit pompatous, difficult to be fully enjoyed without this “systematic mayhem” of “Mad Max: Fury Road”, but constitutes a brilliant piece of modern film music anyway. Nevertheless, the Academy prefers more delicate, less powerful scores as winners – just take the example of last Oscar race and the big loser Zimmer, whose “Interstellar” soundtrack blew my mind (which doesn’t apply to Desplat’s score, although good as well). Holkenborg goes with this soundtrack the same direction as Zimmer in his Batman scores – there is a heavy, electronic background, but there is also space for more subtle sequences as well. And Holkenborg had to face a disturbingly difficult task, set by Miller – sustain the film’s unsettling pace in his part too. Eventually, he managed to do it perfectly and even added some extra-spicy “topping” in a form of the all-the-way-nuts guitar flamethrower blended into this musical giant.

If we talk about Junkie XL’s score, it’s inevitable not to discuss the already-announced new “Mad Max” movies. It’s hard to say how the next “Mad Max” will work out. This reboot seemed to be a one-hit wonder – a big, crazy one, something so strangely addictive and entertaining that it might be impossible to be duplicated. And this also applies to Junkie XL’s soundtrack – it worked this time, but the same exhilarating, but exhausting soundtrack could be too much to handle again – it might lose all the magic it consists right now. Apart from that, I’m really looking forward to the Dutcvh composer’s cooperation with Zimmer on new DC movies (announced already). I hope these two geniuses will work together and create an utterly mezmerizing music.

  • Immortan’s Citadel (Extended Version)
  • Brothers in Arms
  • Spikey Cars


2015 – What to see this year?

Another portion of “what to see this year” is here. No need to write a lot, just check what will be worth seeing in this year (the list will be updated so don’t worry):

1. Black Mass

That’s one of the hottest things this year.  The story focuses around the life of one of the most vicious mobsters in the history of U.S. – James “Whitey” Bulger. Not only it seems to me, that Johnny Depp took his chance and made it back to the pantheon of the best in Hollywood, but also there is a smell of an Oscar in this trailer, don’t you think? Apart from that, I miss this Depp from “Public Enemies” – edgy, darksome, but hipnotizing. The cast looks  crazy too – Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Peter Sarsgaard, Kevin Bacon and the list goes on. But yet, this is not the end of cool stuff about “Black Mass” – the high hopes are rooted also in another name: Scott Cooper, who is the director (if anyone has seen “Out of the furnace”, then you know what we can expect) of the movie.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

Although I’m not a huge fan of the recycling in the movie industry, there is something extremely catchy about the visuals of the “Mad Max” remake. Not to mention the fact, that the cast with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron looks, at least, quite firm, the movie itself is of Aussie production – and as far as I’m concerned, Australians learned how to direct good movies.

3. Crimson Peak

Guillermo Del Toro charmed me years back with one of my personal favorites – Pan’s Labirynth. Since then, his other works like “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark” (2010) were highly dissapointing, but this guy deserves a chance again. “Crimson Peak” is set in a Victorian-like atmosphere, with leading roles by Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. Well, maybe I’m a bit naive, but something tells me it won’t be another stupid, kinky horror. Trailer below:

4. Cut Bank

The Coen brothers are one of the few people in the movie industry, that turn practically every single thing they touch into gold. “Cut Bank”, although not being directed by any of them, has got this Coen-influenced magic – at least that’s what the trailer shows. A mixture of dark comedy, awkwardness bursting out from the screen and original cinematography – seems to me, that “Cut Bank” might be just another reason to love Australian modern cinema.

5. Youth

Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano – the cast sounds impressive. It is hard to deny the true talent of Michael Caine, but my silent favorite here is Paul Dano, whose irresistible acting skills are still somehow kept in the shadows. The very short trailer, which you can see below, also reveals a sublime cinematography of “Youth”, adorned by a gentle choir singing. Plus following the enourmous success of “Whiplash”, this movie also focuses around the broad topic of music and its impact on one’s life. Interesting, isn’t it?

6. Cowboys Vs. Dinosaurs

Putting it on this list and the title itself – neither of this is a joke. I guess there is no need for me to say anything more. Seriously, cowboys dealing with dinosaurs?

7. Slow West

It raised a lot of great reviews druing this year’s Sundance Festival, but nonetheless, you don’t really have to read them all to see it’s gonna be kicking – Fassbender following his cowboy-style roles and Mendelsohn walking around the forests in fur. I do forecast either an amazing story or one of the biggest flops of the year. Either way, can;t wait to see it!



Road Movies – did we find the end of the journey?

The cinema of road as one may call it, has been exploited quite often – what are the good, the bad and the weird ones included in this subgenre?

Sometimes, just sometimes, the concept of the so-called “road movies” cross the boundaries of being a blissful masterpieces and turn into a complete waste, garbage of the worst sort, which is just unwatchable. And this time, I want to talk about the modern road cinema – we all know the classics, but my big concern was as it follows: is this sub-genre actually still alive? Times of lonesome drivers are quite gone in the cinema nowadays, hence the real road movies are a rather rare experience. If you love the road movies, maybe you will find something to watch this weekend. And if you love the ridiculous clunkers of cinema, I assure you it’s an article for you as well. 

Let me start with the recent cinematic stuff – last week I was given an opportunity to watch “Mange tes morts” (2015), directed by Jean-Charles Hue. I found the first half an hour quite intriguing, developing an outre web of events – the plot focuses around a car-park-like village in France and one family with criminal background. All in all it is one busted flush, bursting with weak acting, fiddly storyline which aims towards nothing constructive and finishes as a flat, incomprehensive pulp.  Not to mention the fact it was promoted as a riveting thriller praising the concept of road cinema, “Mange tes morts” is pure garbage. And even the sublime cinematography taste does not help in this one. After watching “Scenic Route” (2013), I felt exactly the same, with the exception of anything particularly good about it – one of the biggest flops of 2013 without a doubt. Hence it seems to be a fact, that directing a road movie is a breakneck task, especially nowadays, when audiences appreciate booming action, sex and lots of violence. Well, you can have sex in the car, you can punch someone too and you can drive fast – but that does not constitute the magic, which we are trying to extract, right?

My faith was restored by “The Rover” (2014). My review of this pure cinematography brilliance still awaits to be published, but trust me – this is one hell of a movie! Brutal, nostalgic, darksome, sometimes a bit edgy – David Michod (“Animal Kingdom” 2009) thriller grasps the attention from the very beginning. Strongly backed-up by astonishing roles of duo Pearce&Pattinson, “The Rover” encouraged me to give the modern road cinema a shot. A good choice to support the statement, that there is still hope, was 2009’s hit starring Viggo Mortensen, “The Road”. Post-apocalyptic, bleak landscape and human-eaters, walking around the desolate places, created a picturesque and interesting thriller and what is most important – not only the title matches the road-based concept of the movie.

Road movies are not necessarilly dark, lonesome journeys of wretched maniacs, killers or rovers, who’s got nothing to lose – not everyone are supposed to be Mad Max. Although this example might seem “a bit” crazy, Borat, portrayed by Sascha Baron Cohen, was also a perfect example of a road movie hero. The famous comedy document about a reporter from Kazakhstan, who visited the States to pick up ideas how to improve living standard in his own country, met with mixed reviews – either you loved “Borat” or you hated it whole-heartedly. The scene below is the introduction scene to the movie.

My special pick for this text is the tv series “Sons of Anarchy”. How not to love the motorcycle club gang story, an epic drama with one of the best (if not the all-time best) soundtracks ever created? Would be a disgrace, really. A long journey it is (lasts 6 seasons), but it’s worth giving it a try. And it is a beautiful tribute to the idea of a journey in the cinema – not only in terms of kilometers of highways, but this personal one, happening in the mind of each character.

Concluding, let’s melt away with the most remarkable picks from this sort of cinema – throwback time opened. My personal favorite is “Vanishing Point”, followed by “Mad Max” and “Easy Rider” – movies, which somehow defined the whole generation of alike films. And to finish, I have one ultimate conclusion: road cinema is not dead.