In 2154, Earth has become too overpopulated and over polluted resulting in the wealthy relocating to a luxurious satellite community hanging in the sky above Earth. While the citizen below live in poverty, Max (Matt Damon), who has been exposed to a fatal amount of radiation has just five days to get to Elysium to cure himself.







Right from the outset, director Neill Blomkamp in only his second feature film, introduces us to a future where the poverty divide is so great, the rich and poor are separated by a stratosphere. On Elysium, the equivalent of Paradise and/or Heaven in Greek Mythology, there is no unemployment, no pollution and no sickness, if it weren’t for greed and ambition it really would be a paradise.


There are many of the sci-fi staples in place with the clashing of utopian and dystopian worlds, detached robot authorities resulting in frustration, a worrying preview of what the world of automated phonelines and electronic supermarket checkouts may evolve into and the promise of miraculous medical facilities.


Though it may lack some of the cerebral quality of Blomkamps first feature, the sublime District 9 whose allegorical significance resulted in a truly refreshing take on the sci-fi genre, Elysium is still a meticulously designed treat with a great deal to say. With his first film alluding to the Apartheid, Elysium focuses on the issue of illegal immigration, with the citizens of Earth willing to do almost anything to make their way to a better world. The handheld camera work echoes the realistic, documentary style of District 9 and the lighting contrasts the bleak world on Earth to the more ‘polished atmosphere of Elysium including some stunning CGI effects.


Matt Damon brings his usual cheekiness to the role but there is much depth in his performance and though it is initially hard to separate him from his bumbling character Wiikus from District 9, Sharlto Copley becomes a distinctly creepy villain. Jodie Foster is also excellent as the schemer hell-bent on keeping the masses out. Her unidentifiable accent can be jarring at times but perhaps accents in space are subject to change, who are we to judge?




Though not as game-changing as District 9 it is still captivating and inventive enough to emerge as one of the best sci-fi’s of the year (Though Alfonso Cuarón‘s Gravity is likely to change this), establishing Blomkamp as one of the most talented sci-fi directors of recent years.



4 Responses to “Elysium”
  1. Thanks so much for the ping back! I liked your review and agree that it wasn’t as game-changing as District 9 was, but it was a breath of fresh air from all of the mediocre summer films that have been released lately.

  2. Murat says:

    Great read – I wish I could watch a film with the same degree of depth!

    Look forward to your future reviews.

  3. Thanks for those kind words! Yes this summer has had some disappointing blockbusters, and it far exceeded the likes of After Earth and Oblivion.

  4. Alan Dove says:

    Great read, thanks for the ping back. I must figure how to do them myself 🙂

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