Review: Elysium

In 2154, Earth is grossly overpopulated. The majority of humanity live on a dying planet with limited food, water, medicine and natural resources at their disposal to care for themselves while the wealthy, powerful and elite live in a luxurious paradise orbiting the Earth called, “Elysium.”

The citizens of Elysium live on an unspoiled peaceful habitat waited on hand-and-foot by robot servants, and have access to unlimited food, drink and have access to machines that can cure any and every type of disease. Elysium can be compared to the Garden of Eden, but inhabited by the world’s finest.

Matt Damon will do what it takes to reach “Elysium”

On Earth, a man named Max Da Costa, played by Academy Award winner Matt Damon (“The Bourne Identity,” “The Departed”), has dreamed about going to Elysium ever since he was a boy. Unfortunately, his life has lead him down a different path that doesn’t lead anywhere to the space station.

Max is a former car-thief released from prison, trying to get his life back on track working in a robot assembly factory. Unfortunately, his streak of bad luck is about to take a turn for the worse.

One day, Max suffers a horrible work-related accident exposing him to a lethal amount of radiation which cuts his life-span to just five days. He desperately turns to a man named Spider, played by Wagner Moura, and his underground Elysium smuggling operation for help.

In exchange for information from an Elysium citizen named John Carlyle, played by William Fichtner (“The Lone Ranger,” “The Dark Knight”), Spider can get Max to Elysium to cure his radiation sickness. In order to ensure mission success, Spider outfits Max with an exo-skeleton that is surgically grafted into Max’s nervous system, which allows Max to function through his illness.

Jodie Foster will do whatever it takes to protect Elysium

Max has no idea that Carlyle’s brain is holding extremely sensitive information regarding Elysium’s security system and it holds great value to Elysium’s Defense Secretary Delacourt, played by Academy Award winner Jodie Foster (“The Silence of the Lambs,” “Nell”).

Delacourt will stop at nothing to obtain and secure that intel and dispatches a disgraced, volatile and deranged security agent named Kruger, played by Sharlto Copley (“The A-Team”), to retrieve it at all costs.

Max has valuable information at his disposal but his life is coming to an end minute-by-minute, therefore he must do whatever it takes to reach Elysium, not only to cure his sickness, but to possibly alter the dynamics between the people living on Earth and Elysium forever.

Academy Award nominee Neill Blomkamp (“District 9”) burst on to the scene with “District 9” and in this highly anticipated follow-up from Blomkamp, it seems he hasn’t lost his ability to create a bold, daring and thought-provoking action-drama that can send shock-waves through out the audience.

Blomkamp’s illustration on how humanity can be divided somewhere down the road between the haves and the have-nots is powerful and is a good backdrop to a solid action-story driven by the characters of Damon, Foster and Copley. This mastery of social-commentary is what gave impact to Blomkamp’s “District 9” and the presence of this impact is felt in “Elysium.”

Damon and Foster, in their leading roles, are sharp and methodical, while Copley gives a chilling and menacing performance. The supporting cast of Moura, Fichtner, Diego Luna (“Milk”) and Alice Braga (“I am Legend”) are all very crisp and solid as well.

This movie isn’t perfect though. There is an abundance of graphic material throughout this feature and the plot of the movie is difficult to grasp as a whole but in the end, “Elysium” is a resounding success.

Unlike Blomkamp’s previous work, “Elysium” feels retrained but it doesn’t change the fact that this is a well-built motion picture with impact and audiences will thoroughly enjoy it.

“Elysium” is imaginative, cerebral and powerful on all levels. Another piece of quality craftsmanship from Neill Blompkamp.

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