2013 / Director. Neil Blomkamp.
ELYSIUM is Neil Blomkamp's brassy follow up to his amazing debut film, DISTRICT 9. It could be considered a spiritual sequel, however, it is a whole new story set in another time. It tells the story of a ravished and impoverished Earth in the year 2154 where the wealthy have abandoned the planet to live on a gigantic artificial platform-planet called Elysium, which sits in Earth's orbit and is visible to the poor who inhabit the leftovers. Matt Damon stars as an ex-con who is exposed to lethal doses of radiation in an industrial accident and needs to reach Elysium to be cured. Jodie Foster co-stars as Elysium's ruthless defense secretary who will stop at nothing to protect the wealthy society. The film is a race against time with a vicious undercover agent closing in. My thoughts on this film flip-flop from positive to negative and because I prefer to focus on the upside of any film I will glaze over the negatives... the narrative is stretched to it's limit and tends to drag. The undercover agent character is brilliantly played by Sharlto Copley (star of District 9) but is well overdone and brings the film down. On the plus side, the film looks incredible and is an awe-inspiring conception. So much attention to detail has been invested in both of these worlds and the prosperous outer-world of Elysium is a feast for the eyes. I wish the film were set predominantly there, rather than the familiar District 9 aesthetic of war-torn Earth. Matt Damon is effective in the lead and Jodie Foster is perfectly cast as the film's villain. At the end of the day ELYSIUM is an excercise in style over substance but is a unique and visually arresting science fiction adventure. A few trims around the edges and a shorter running time might just make it superb!