Elysium: Gripping Apocalyptic Sci-Fi
Jodie FosterMatt Damon
Action & AdventureDrama...
Following 2009’s critically acclaimed District 9, talented director, Neil Blomkamp, has stepped up to a bigger stage with Elysium; another apocalyptic, Mother Earth sci-fi feature.
The year is 2154 and Earth has become overpopulated, over-polluted and swarming with the sickly. Max (Damon), a military factory worker and an ex-con, makes his money by assembling robots in a shoddy, rundown L.A. His living conditions are pitiable and while he and the rest of the underprivileged live in the slums, the rich have found themselves a sanctuary and home on Elysium; a luxurious space station that orbits the Earth.
Equipped with deluxe mansions, lavish swimming pools, et al, Elysium is a utopian refuge. Not only do its inhabitants have everything they wish for, but the miraculous, free healthcare system is advanced to the point where cancer is curable and no one ever gets old or sick. Meanwhile, Earth is policed by robots.
While on duty at his dead-end job, Max is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, which leaves him with only a few days to live – unless he can somehow get himself to Elysium for the necessary treatment. However, Elysium’s entry is ruthlessly patrolled by Secretary of Defense, Delacourt (Foster), who isn’t so keen on illegal immigrants. Acquiring the help of a local gang, Max is soon turned into a pseudo-cyborg which enables him to begin his desperate pursuit for survival. Meanwhile, Delacourt enlists her secret police, led by the ruthless Agent Kruger (Copley), to bring down the culprit.
One thing is for certain; Blomkamp’s visual style is truly one of a kind. Once again, the relatively inexperienced director demonstrates real creativity and true ingenuity in that department. From the gritty reality on Earth, to the lavish and immaculate life on Elysium, it’s very difficult not to get completely immersed in the magic. The action scenes are equally gripping, but some may be disappointed that Blomkamp keeps the adrenaline rushes to a minimum.
As no stranger to fighting bad guys, Damon puts in a solid performance and comes off as relatable, likeable underdog of a character. Sporting a rather unstable accent, Foster also plays her part in the grand scheme of the film, though her character is almost too archetypal. Copley, on the other hand, is the true star of the picture as the menacing villain who’ll do everything and anything to take Damon down.
Taken as a whole, Blomkamp delivers and although Elysium falls short of Blomkamp’s promise, it still packs enough punch to stand out from the sci-fi pack.