Sunday, August 11, 2013


Plot: In 2154, the 1% have moved to an orbiting satellite called Elysium, and the working class on earth is kept in line by robot soldiers. Max (Matt Damon) lives in a run-down, police-state version of Los Angeles, and the movie starts with robot police breaking his arm him at a bus stop for no good reason. He has the bone set by his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga,) although Frey works at the hospital, she can't get health care for her daughter who is dying of leukemia. Max goes to see his parole officer, who turns out to be a robot too, and then he goes to work where he builds robots. He suffers an industrial accident, gets irradiated, and has only five days to live. Max goes to see his underworld friend Julio (Diego Luna), who is a crime boss, a hacker and a revolutionary. Julio sends Max to steal secrets from the brain of defense executive John Carlyle (William Fichtner.) He does that, and is immediately  hunted by human agents from Elysium Defense Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) to get the secrets back. In order to capitalize on the secrets, Max, Julio, and Frey fly up to Elysium, and this trip leads to the movies final scenes. [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Elysium is a heavy political satire with left-leaning class warfare. The visuals are always great, dark, creepy and cool. The visuals are the best part -- much like District Nine. 

Matt Damon does a good job with the role; Max is the everyman upon whom this crazy situation is thrust, and gradually he rises up and starts a revolution. Jodie Foster is outstanding. She is steely tough; I just wish she were in the movie more. The acting is always good.

Despite the good performances, the thought-provoking themes, the movie isn't that fun-to-watch. The relentless dreariness never stops, and the few attempts at humor don't work -- like the unfunny scene at the parole office with the robot agent. 

Elysium makes no effort to have the science make sense. (Someone called it Lazy Science Fiction.) Everytime something happens in the movie that can't really happen, it is distracting, and it reminds me that I am watching a movie. Then I tell myself, yes, this detail does not matter-- but it interrupts.  For example, no one would have screwed the exoskeleton in over Matt Damon's T-shirt. They would have take the T-shirt off first. Not to mention that they wouldn't have left the bolts sticking out and bleeding. 

Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, 

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp

Rating: 3.0 stars: Cool visuals, solid performances and a thoughtful subject matter make this a good movie. Yet it is less than the sum of its parts. A little too preachy.  
[Minor Spoiler] More: After the revolution, the first thing is free health care for the masses.