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9.17.2013

Elysium



A vision of our apocalyptic future from Neill Blomkamp's Elysium (2013)

"Do you think I like breathing the air down here?"

Those are the words of military industrialist John Carlyle, a slimy one percenter played by the consistently excellent William Fichtner in the entertaining Elysium. Blomkamp does cluttered and depleted very well. The visuals here recall the slums from his superior effort District 9. Elysisum actually borrows quite a bit from that film. The droids are very similar to the aliens, and the action sequences and mechanized augmentations come straight from that earlier film.

Still, there is much that feels fresh here. The short interaction between Matt Damon's Max and the robot parole officer is priceless. More of that speculative satire would have been great.

The visuals of Elysium are great. Picture Rivendell in space and you're getting pretty close. Jodie Foster is excellent as a slimy minister of defense. She grimaces and sneers through the whole thing, and it's easy to forget how great an actor she is. I hope she does some more lead roles very soon...

Damon is good, but the script doesn't give him much to work with. Mostly, this is a plot-driven action flick. We learn a little bit about the characters in some brief flashbacks, but not nearly enough to fully invest in the story.

And Sharlto Copley gives a turn as Kruger that is pretty memorable. Kruger, from his creepy demeanor, accent, and high-pitched voice, is one of the better villains in recent memory. Dude exudes menace...

So it's a good movie, and I enjoyed it on the big screen. It works on an allegory on financial isolation and elitism, and it works as a decent sci-fi flick. Solid "B" for me, and worth your time and ten bucks...

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