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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Elysium

Elysium

Neill Blomkamp follows up his acclaimed debut film District 9 will the sci-fi/action film Elysium.  The film takes place in the year 2154, at which time the Earth has become practically unliveable, due to pollution and overpopulation.  In response to this, the Earth’s wealthy decided to leave the planet and relocate to the space station Elysium, where they can live a utopic existence (complete with cures for all ailments), while the general population suffers on Earth.

Max (Matt Damon) is an ex-con, who is trying to make a living working in a factory.  However, an accident subjects Max to radiation poisoning and he only has a few days to live.  Desperate to go to Elysium for healing, Max accepts a job to steal information from his boss (William Fichtner) and he’s fitted with a bio-mechanical suit, which improves his reflexes.  However, stealing the information interrupted a planned coup by Elysium’s corrupt Defence Secretary Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster), so she sends vicious mercenary Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to retrieve the information from Max.

With Elysium, Neill Blomkamp continues the Apartheid themes found in District 9, except on a much larger scale.  Now it is the entire population of Earth, who is being mistreated by the wealthy minority, who occupy Elysium.  This also nicely leads into the whole occupy movement from a few years ago, which argues that the balance of power is only controlled by 1% of the entire population.

Elysium takes some time to get its footing, however it is quite obvious to me that Blomkamp was trying to make a film that is more than a mindless action picture.  While Max begins with only wanting to cure himself, he slowly begins to realize that he holds to power to change the paradigm on Elysium and help out the entire Earth population.  This is fuelled by Max’s encounter with his old friend Frey (Alice Braga), whose daughter is dying of leukaemia  (and can only be saved by Elysium’s healing pods).

I have to say that the true standout performance of the film is Sharlto Copley as Kruger, who I have to argue comes off as one of the most memorable villains I’ve seen this year.  This very vicious and crazy performance shows a different side to Copley, who played quite a meek character character in District 9 (as well as the comic relief in The A-Team).  I even have to say that Copley completely overshadows Jodie Foster, despite her also being a quite good villain in the film (if she had a moustache, she would’ve been twirling it).

All and all, I have to say that Neill Blomkamp does it again with Elysium.  The might have a bit of a slower build than District 9, but once it reaches the climax, it definitely shows that there is much more than meets the eye with this sci-fi/action film.

 9 | REALLY LIKED IT

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).