The future looks bleak in Elysium

Daniel Woodhouse

Elysium takes place in the year 2154 where Earth has become a dump. All the affluent people have left and gone to a space station in orbit called Elysium, while the poor have been left to suffer.

Enter Max Da Costa, a desperate ex-con, who is dying of radiation poisoning. With only a few days left to live, Max agrees to take one last job from his old friend and fellow criminal Spider, in exchange Spider agrees to give him a shuttle to get to Elysium to seek medical treatment.

Writer/director Neill Blomkamp delivers a hard-nosed, and sometimes brutal, sci fi style mixed with social commentary. While the execution and scope are well done, the script is hit or miss in presenting themes of healthcare and financial inequality. The message gets across, but becomes cliche because the villains are too cartoonishly evil at times.

Elysium proves to be the sci-fi thriller it's hyped up to be, with a great plot and strong acting.
Elysium proves to be the sci-fi thriller it’s hyped up to be, with a great plot and strong acting.

Matt Damon, as usual, gives a great performance as Max Da Costa, a man trying his best to make ends meet. Jodie Foster does a good job of playing Delacourt, Elysium’s emotionless Secretary of Defense, who is willing to commit acts of murder and treason to keep poor people from immigrating to Elysium. Sharlto Copley comes back for a second appearance in a Blomkamp film, this time cast as the sadistic Agent Kruger, who does an excellent job of selling the animalistic nature of the character.

Elysium has some amazing set designs, like overcrowded slums of Los Angeles and country club estates on the space station — this stark contrast reinforces the differences between the haves and have nots. The scope is beautiful and should be up for consideration in this year’s Academy Awards.

My only complaints about the movie is the shaky camera work in the final fight scene, and the excessive amount of slow motion during action sequences.

Elysium is a fun sci fi, action film, that doesn’t quite have the emotional weight of Blomkamp’s District 9, but gets the job done all the same.

 

4 out of 5 stars