Movie Monday: Elysium

Set in the year 2154 Elysium is a space station where the rich live in as close to a perfect world as its possible. they live in harmony and have a medical system in each home that cures all known illnesses. The poor have to tolerate a hopeless life on earth where there are no jobs, no money and no healthcare. Those on earth have to also put up with bureaucratic robots who run everything.

Earth is where our protagonist max, played superbly by Matt Damon, Is trying to keep himself on the straight and narrow and away from his previous life of crime. Max has a bit of a quick mouth and is searched by two robot police officers who break his arm. At hospital he meets his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga). She has a sick daughter that comes into play later.

At work Max gets a nasty dose of radiation and has five days to live, and this is when he decides he needs to force his way onto Elysium to use the medical systems they have that will cure him.

 

I really enjoyed this movie. It gives a look at what a future earth could very possibly come true and it does not feel too much of a push for the rich to isolate themselves further then they already are. There is the odd issue I have with it, I’d imagine this medical system they have would be on earth as well, maybe not as prevalent but I do believe there would be a few of these machines on earth. Law enforcement is done by robots, that look awesome by the way. The people have to deal with automated systems that are not anywhere near understanding or even co-operative.

Los Angeles looks like a slum from any number of third world countries. Buildings look like they are on the verge of collapsing despite being inhabited. The vehicles look rusted and the whole world just looks like its decaying.

 

The acting is amazing. We all know Jodie Foster, she pulls in a very dark performance as Elysium’s Secretary Of Defence. Matt Damon pulls out a breathtakingly performance here. I like Matt Damon, I think he is a very gifted actor and this is one of my favourite performances from him. We know about Damon and Foster though, its the other main actors here that impressed me a lot. Sharlto Copely as the vicious Kruger is amazing. I’ve seen him play a bungling bureaucrat in District 9, a fruit loop in The A-Team and now a seriously sinister killer who does not care about anybody or thing except himself. Alice Braga as Frey also impressed me, she made me believe she was devoted mother who is struggling to make life as good as possible for her severely ill daughter. I’ve seen Braga in a few films now and her range is impressing me. Diego Luna as Julio, Max’s best friend caught my eye also. I’m not really aware of this actor but after this I’ll be keeping an eye out for him. Wagner Moura as Spider and the awesomeness that is William Fichtner both give solid performances as well.

 

What I’ve taken away mostly from this movie is its look at humanity. This is an incredibly good movie, but as a look at what may become of us, as a species it is one of the best movies I have seen. The desolation the director Neill Bloomkamp envisages for our future feels eerily real. He has dismantled society and taken the rich and powerful out of it, which leaves the rest of us to try and survive. This is what life is today.

 

On a personal note, not only do I love this movie I love the inspiration aspect of it. As a science fiction writer it is full of great visuals and gives the mind a lot to play with.

 

I just also want to mention briefly the shaky camera footage in this one. I don’t mind a bit of this method of filming but here it was too much and if I’m honest I actually want to see the action and not always feel like I’m in the middle of it.

 

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2 thoughts on “Movie Monday: Elysium

  1. Despite featuring plenty of promise that it sadly doesn’t live up to, it’s still fun and thrilling enough to be watched and enjoyed. Good review Peter.

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