Movie Review: Elysium

From the almost unknown, one-hit-wonder director of 2009's District 9, Neill Blomkamp delivers another sci-fi thriller with Elysium, telling the story of a man who goes to great lengths in order to save himself and other Earth inhabitants under deadly conditions. With souring shuttles to ruthless fighting droids, Blomkamp envisions a frightening look into the future as social and political classes divide and create two different worlds: One for the wealthy and the privileged, and the other on Earth, where disease and violence run wild.

(May Contain Spoilers!)
Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), an ex-con who lives in the ruins of Los Angeles on a diseased and slum-invested Earth, struggles to maintain a normal life as he works the line in a factory and evades robot authorities who threaten to raise his parole. After reconnecting with old friend Frey, who has a daughter in the deadly stages of leukemia, Max reminds her of his promise to get them both to Elysium, where they can be cured of disease and live in peace. After returning to work and experiencing a deadly accident that exposes him to lethal amounts of radiation, Max enlists the help of Spider, a smuggler who agrees to help Max survive as long as he helps him steal critical information from Max's company CEO, John Carlyle (William Fichtner). Realizing that he has no other option and must get to Elysium before he dies, Max agrees to help and undergoes a brutal operation that fuses an exoskeleton onto his body and bio-medical implants into his head in order to steal the data directly from Carlyle's brain. As Max and a team of Spider's best men race to intercept Carlyle, they are approached by a deadly assassin, Kruger (Sharlto Copley), hired to execute them by Elysium's highest-ranking government minister, Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster). After escaping with the data, Delacourt launches an all-out manhunt for Max and the information in his head, causing Max to negotiate with Kruger to take him to Elysium in exchange for the data. Crash-landing in Elysium after hijacking the shuttle, Max and Frey, who was captured also, race to meet with Spider's crew in order to transfer the vital information into the Elysium system to alter the way of life for over a million inhabitants trapped on the poor, overpopulated planet beneath Elysium. In a race for his life and the lives of an entire planet, Max must battle ruthless assassins and risk his body and mind in order to break down the withering empire that the rich and privileged have enjoyed for so long in peace and freedom.  


As a huge fan of the science fiction genre, I was in paradise watching this film, with its interesting look into a world where the social classes are divided and for those who live on the space-heaven of Elysium, disease, poverty, and war are a thing of the past. Even if it may seem a bit unrealistic that the rich would abandon the poor to live a better life in an orbital civilization, it's quite entertaining to watch how things have evolved in the future of Earth and its people. One thing I loved in the film that fellow sci-fi fans would also enjoy, was the evolved technology that the inhabitants have created in order to survive and maintain control. From colorful crowd-controlling droids to beds that can cure any disease or injury, Blomkamp really knows how to make the future look awesome as he envisions a world where robots have become the only authority and you can't stay sick or hurt for long if you live in the luxurious heaven of Elysium.

From hairless factory-workers who need a cure and a better ultimatum to hairy assassins with wicked Australian accents and deadly katanas, the cast of this film ranged from strangely hilarious to ruthlessly bad-ass. Matt Damon's character, Max, struggles to live a free and harmless life in hopes to one day get a ticket to the paradise Elysium he has dreamed about since he was a child. Playing a witty survivor out for the one goal of staying alive, Damon felt right at home as he delivered an excellent performance as the star of this sci-fi thriller. As Damon crosses paths with mindless robots and devious smugglers, he finally comes face-to-face with an enemy so ruthless and psychotic that he'll do anything to become the ruler of Elysium. I'm talking about Agent Kruger, played by past District 9 star Sharlto Copley, who has previously played crazy and strange roles like Howling Mad Murdock in 2010's The A-Team. This time around, Copley brought his psychotic nature and brilliant Australian accent to his character who is bent on killing Damon and whoever else gets in his way. The main antagonist, played by the amazing Jodie Foster, showed me how ruthless a minister of a space-paradise could be, killing innocent immigrants trying to approach Elysium and all, but overall didn't seem believable as a villain like Copley's character did to me. I think her character was needed because Elysium needed the whole evil-dictator thing, but I think Copley's mindless assassin character was more effective in telling the story of who wants more power and who's a more bad-ass-looking ruler of Elysium. Either way, I thought the cast was great in the film and delivered spectacular performances as pawns in a big game of futuristic cat-and-mouse.  

Overall, I thought the film was amazing and smart, delivering a sci-fi thrill-ride across the slums of Los Angeles and the slick and speculating views of Elysium. The cast was good, the gadgets were awesome, and the aerial views of future Earth and orbital Elysium were spectacular and mind-blowing to experience. If you loved District 9, this year's Oblivion, and any other futuristic film, you'll love this violent, breathtaking, and gritty thriller.  

I gave this film a 9 out of 10 because if you love action, sci-fi thrillers, gritty and violent antagonists, and humans battling robots in slow-motion with explosions, you'll love this film that has most of that stuff and even more. Get ready to experience this year's best sci-fi film with an amazing cast and one awesome space spectacle.          

Popular Posts