Elysium (2013) Review

Blomkamp showcased his talent in District 9 (When will we get a sequel?) and now returns to take on the ‘distopian earth’ template with Matt ‘how do you like them augmentations’ Damon.

Elysium is painted with Blomkamp’s gritty, pastel brush (as debuted in District 9) and dialogued in the same manner. Max (Damon) gets ill and needs to get to Elysium for healing - a huge space colony in orbit around Earth, for rich people only, run by President Patel (!?), played by Faran Tahir (who played the terrorist in ‘x’ - insert any US TV Drama… 24, Blue Bloods).

Sharlto Copley from District 9 appears as a hulking antagonist to Max’s plans and is, once again, and absolute joy to watch, injecting dark humour into the most gratuitous of scenes.

I have a personal niggle that ruined what was otherwise a great sci-fi romp - people in Blomkamp’s world seem to read code faster than regular people can read English. There were several ridiculous scene where code was displayed flying up the screens and everyone (everyone!) that saw it magically knew what it was - total bollocks and ruined every scene it happened in (je suis un software engineer aussi, so I claim the right to criticise)

There was a pointless, but hot, latin lady in the film, attempting to add a deeper dimension to what was otherwise just a terrorist campaign on Max’s part. All in all it added up to a reasonable excuse to invade the rich people’s area and blow/beat the shit out of them - an overriding theme in some of Blomkamp’s work.

Striding in to balance this rapid-coding-reading malarkey is an unexpected and striking performance from Jodie Foster - playing a staunch right wing political battle-axe that seems to be a caricature of the SAG’s impression of a staunch right wing political battle-axe.

Subtext and underlying-messages aside, Foster is another delicious, menacing tornado in this film, adding to Copley’s psychotic pantomiming.

For concept and visual effects, this would receive a 9/10 - I even commented to my cousin that Blomkamp’s skills would be great if directed towards a project such as Star Wars. However, his leaning towards blowing up bodies on screen may count against him with Disney.

Unfortunately, rapid-code-reading, pointless extra story-lines, and a weak central storyline, chip away at Elysium’s polish. Still, an essential viewing for sci-fi fans and a league ahead of Oblivion and After Earth.




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