After a few years away, Neill Blomkamp returns to theaters with Elysium. It’s a sci-fi thriller that gives Matt Damon a major messiah complex. The film tackles issues of class and healthcare set over 150 years into the future. The film has strong themes that can easily parallel today’s political climate.
- Director: Neill Blomkamp
- Screenwriter: Neill Blomkamp
- Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fitchner
- Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch
- Original Music by: Ryan Amon
In the year 2154, Earth is a ball of pollution and decay. It’s overpopulated and barely habitable by its residents. Because of the planet’s strained resources, the wealthy pooled their money and created Elysium. It’s a man-made space station that’s everything Earth isn’t. More importantly, citizens have access to state of the art healthcare that can cure any terminal illness or injury. With that in mind, Max DeCosta (Matt Damon), desperately needs to get on that torus. After being exposed to a massive amount of radiation, Elysium is his only hope for survival.
- Matt Damon: Matt Damon is a man of the people. He’s a huge movie star but still relatable. You can believe him living in the slums with the have nots. As Max DeCosta you root for him because there’s a connection made between the character and the audience. Compared to the other actors, Damon plays his role earnestly and it works in his favor.
- Production Design: The drastic difference between Elysium and Future Earth is astounding. The design of the torus is a sight to behold. It’s very clean and peaceful as compared to the dusty garbage-filled Earth. It’s like night and day. Between those locations, the robot enforcers and computer graphics, the film has some great visuals.
- Concept: The idea of rich people running away to space is hilarious and slightly believable. The class issue that’s explored in Elysium shows how selfish people can be. The rich have access to these amazing medical bays, yet they refuse to share the technology with those less fortunate. Why? Because it’s a status symbol. When put in that context it reveals how silly our social hangups can be.
- Motivations: It’s stated why Secretary Delacourt (Foster) doesn’t want the “poor folks” on her space station. But her actions are cruel and we can’t help but wonder if something else is going on. She claims to want to protect her family, but we never meet them. Who are these people she’s fighting so desperately for? Since that’s never fully explained, she comes across as a one-dimensional ice queen. Don’t get us wrong, Foster is amazing in the role, but there’s not much on the page.
- Relationships: Max grew up in an orphanage with a girl named Frey (Alice Braga). They separate as adults and meet again under some questionable circumstances. Frey has a daughter whose deathly ill and she begs Max to take her to Elysium. The relationship between these two isn’t fleshed out. It’s mostly explained through childhood flashbacks, which don’t serve them as much as they should. It’s hard to empathize with what he feels for Frey because it seems rushed.
Elysium is filled with lots of interesting ideas. They’re not all executed properly, but some great questions are posed. Damon and Foster give strong performances that balance out the action. We recommend it.
The Rating: 7/10
Elysium opens in theaters August 9.
Will you be seeing Elysium this weekend?