In the year 2154, Earth is subject to overpopulation and disease, causing most of the very wealthy to escape the planet and live in paradise aboard a purpose-built space station, known as Elysium. Max (Damon), is an ex-con attempting to make a way for himself, leading him to take on a mission that could end up bringing equality to the two worlds.
Elysium, Director Blomkamp’s second feature, is very much in the same vein as his successful debut District 9, with earth being a grubby and gritty place, full of hopeless desperation. Despite the scale and detail of the world, the film doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of it’s premise. Rather than Max being chased around a dusty earth, it could well have benefited from more action taking place on Elysium itself, examining the thinking and attitudes that formed this polarised society, and giving more impact to it’s eventual fate.
Max’s relationship with Frey and her daughter is only part-formed, with the unusual complaint that the film really feels a little too short to let the characters and environment breathe. That said, the world is brilliantly realised – in particular the obscene luxury of Elysium itself. Damon always delivers, Copley is delightfully disgusting as the mercenary Kruger, and there is enough cool hardware to keep the adrenaline pumping. Rather than an all-out action picture, Blomkamp has delivered a socially-aware sci-fi, which has as much brains as it does brawn, even if the end result does feel a little hollow.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley