Elysium isn’t the masterpiece some were expecting following director Neill Blomkamp’s District 9. That film was nominated for ten Academy Awards including Best Picture. That’s a tough act to follow and it proves too much for the talented writer/director. Elysium is a better than average sci-fi tale that presents some intriguing ideas but never ignites they way his previous film did. Matt Damon, leaned out and bald, makes a compelling anti-hero who is forced into the position of rebel due to a series of increasingly dire events.
In the near future the upper-class have left Earth for a space-station called Elysium. It’s a floating utopia where disease, poverty, and strife have been eradicated. Jodie Foster is a bureaucrat who overseas the sanctuary of Elysium from groups of pirate immigrants. Meanwhile, Damon is toiling away on Earth. He checks into his factory job dutifully and when a workplace accident exposes him to a lethal dose of radiation, he knows his only chance of survival is to crash the walls of Elysium.
Modern-day problems ranging from exploited workforces, health care, and immigration are explored with a metaphorical analogy. Not all of this is successful but you have to give Blomkamp some credit for working with big ideas in a typically stunted genre. Every time Elysium appears to reach for another level it becomes grounded due to the action film requirements of the script. A live-wire government assassin (Sharlto Copley) living on Earth is a silly character that reminds the viewer of a futuristic Jason Bourne movie.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley