Elysium is a sci-fi action thriller directed by Neil Blomkamp, starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna and is set in 2154, with Earth further divided social inequality to an extreme with the wealthy and privileged living on a space station called Elysium with better facilities, better technology and better living conditions. While the rest of the humanity lives on earth in mostly squalid conditions. Elysium has highly advanced medical technology, able to cure any disease, slow aging and re-generate body parts and Max (Matt Damon) strives to bring equality into the mix and restore social balance.
The story of Elysium is a predictable one, playing out in ways you’d expect it to go but with that being said it’s still an enjoyable and fun watch, Matt Damon is great as Max and embodies the role of the moral action hero quite well, while Sharlto Copley delivers another intense and great performance in a Blomkamp movie as Kruger, reaching Disney levels of villainy at times. And on the whole the acting is good but not everyone gets enough screentime or that much to do, Delacourt (Jodie Fosters) for example is important to the story but doesn’t get that many scenes due to the story is focused on Max some other characters get a bit left out.
The set pieces in the film are good and the film is shot well with some great visuals, Blomkamp lets his imagination run wild and the futuristic world of Elysium is great to see, as is the HULC – the mechanized exo-skeleton that Max uses to give him the edge, to the futuristic weaponry also used on Elysium and Earth. Blomkamp works well in helping visualize a sci-fi world and bring it to life, though it’s a shame his film plots don’t always live up to the standard that his films visuals do. The social allegory is there of course, society is unequal and poverty is rife, in the world today and in the future things could be drastically worse and watching Max go on his own personal crusade to bring about equality is a great story but it did feel a bit idealistic and possibly a bit too on the nose for some.
That being said, Damon is great in the role and presents Max as a real friend of the people, a man to cheer for and Copleys’ Kruger makes a great theatrical villain. If you were looking for an improvement on District 9, keep looking as ultimately Elysium feels like a bit of style over substance with a good looking film and an interesting concept that doesn’t quite hit the emotional high notes District 9 did. Though the film is still engaging for the most part and Matt Damon’s a great leading man, it could have been better.
. Has some great looking visuals
. Has relevant but shallow social commentary, a bit on the nose
. Isn’t quite a great drama or a compelling action film, feels a bit middle of the road