Elysium – Film Review

Screen shot 2013-08-24 at 22.10.05

Rated: 15, 109 mins

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner

This latest Matt Damon film is a guns blazing, technology wielding science-fiction movie set in the 22nd Century, where earth has decayed to a grey and dismal planet and the population’s elite have escaped to Elysium, a station in the sky with luxuries aplenty and med beds offering eternal good health and anti-ageing, possibly a comment on the current state of healthcare in the USA.

Damon plays Max De Costa, an ex-con working in a robot factory in Los Angeles, though most of his cohorts spend their time drinking in the dirt and planning grand theft auto.  Max’s love interest is a childhood sweetheart, Frey, now working as a nurse and battling everyday with a sick daughter. Sharlto Copley is thrown into the mix as an agent for Elysium’s government’s defence secretary, Delacourt, played by a fierce Jodi Foster.

When Max is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation at the factory his imminent death plays the motivation for him to take up his underground life again and accept a job to steal data from the billionaire John Carlyle (William Fichtner) in return for a ticket to the sky’s paradise, Elysium, to be healed.

In theory, an interesting film. In practise, a little lost. The effects were stunning and the gadgets developed for the film were great, but at times it felt like the film was simply built around a want to showcase an array of future technology potential.

There wasn’t enough character development between Frey and Max and there seemed to be a lot of threads that were hastily tied up at the end from individual story lines. The music was really powerful, but it’s a shame the onscreen narrative couldn’t match the strong score.

The robots at times were also a little cringeworthy. After his radiation exposure, Max is coldly discharged from his job with days left to live, and the robot’s speech in this scene is incredibly blatant, comically so. Whilst this may have been the intention, it didn’t seem quite right for the film.

If you’d like to see lots of explosions, gadgets and stunning CGI, go. If you’re looking for a dystopic thriller with a bit more sustenance and story, probably best to save the pennies for the next big science-fiction movie.

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