In a world drained of colour, do we need to reconsider the film's protagonists?WARNER BROS. PICTURES

It's 15:25. Essay deadline at 16:00. Screening at 16:20. My fingers creak with exhaustion. The clock on my screen smirks at me. I’m 1200 words deep, 800 to go. I’m taunted by numeric measures. I pick up the pace, the left hand slowing, climbing over the keys trying to spell ‘w-a-s’. The thoughts aren’t coming but I persist, the syntax waning as sense becomes a secondary concern.

Heart races. 5 minutes to go, 1400 words in. This will have to do. Press send. Google Maps, walk from Newnham to the Picturehouse, 25 minutes. It’s 16:05, I don’t have the time and I don’t have a bike (yet). Sian, fresh off a supervision, lends me hers. I pedal hard, wheels spinning like a gerbil on speed. Throw the bike on Downing railings (sorry Sian). Up the cinema stairs – “press ticket for Varsity please” – get inside, doors shut. 16:19, and Mad Max: Fury Road – Black & Chrome Edition begins. And yet, would you believe it, tired reader, this was not the most exciting part of my day.

"Drained of colour, Mad Max: Fury Road is elevated to an almost biblical allegory, the chromatic binary reinforcing a post-lapsarian wasteland."

The decision to re-release Mad Max: Fury Road is a curious one. Why, after your film made an estimated $378,8858,340 at the box office only 2 years before, does a re-release seem necessary? More money. It has to be. No? Well, having left the cinema, I came to a surprising conclusion. The decision (perhaps financially convincing) is unavoidably an artistic one. Simply put, Mad Max: Fury Road – Black & Chrome Edition is a masterpiece.

What a difference some colour makes! The original film, critically lauded, managed to appease critics from both sides of the high/low art divide. All praised its majestic action sequences and subversive feminist skewering of the previously machismo-drenched series. But drained of colour, Mad Max: Fury Road is elevated to an almost biblical allegory, the chromatic binary reinforcing a post-lapsarian wasteland; man conquered by avarice and greed has drained earth of its vitality, its colour.

The Black & Chrome Edition also compelled me to reassess one performance. Hardy’s depiction of Max in the original release was like a wolf-raised Mr Bean, forced to speak with snooker balls in his mouth. The ‘Hardy' affect/effect is such that you’re often looking at actor and rarely at character. However, in black-and-white, the eclectic character choices and tics create an odd melange of a man, and suddenly his bold (read: ostentatious) physical choices look like he’s channelling a steroidal Buster Keaton. To some extent this redresses the focus of the film: Furiosa may be the film’s true lead, tall and stoic, impervious to pain, but Max is its human heart, taking thrashings like a human rag doll. The black-and-grey hues soften the blows and the eruptions of blood, the violence incidental in his quest to survive.

It also exposes the starkness of George Miller’s imagery: a dying tree stands grey and firm against a desolate landscape; the inhabitants of this post-apocalyptic world are all hanging Judases who have betrayed their saviour, their earth. Generally speaking, it is the scenery that benefits from decolourisation the most. Much was made, on its initial release, of the film’s true protagonist, Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, but if anything, this version reminds us of the real lead: the Fury Road.

Mad Max: Fury Road was already a great action film. But in black-and-white it transcends genre into something grander in scale; an eco-morality tale bleeding in guilt and chrome