Film Review – Elysium (2013)


Title – Elysium (2013)

Director – Neill Blomkamp (District 9)

Cast – Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga, William Fitchtner

Plot – Set in the not too distant future where the rich have fled to space station Elysium and the weak and poor continue to live and struggle on what’s left of the wastes of Earth. Elysium acts as a home where sickness has no hold and age no meaning. Max (Damon) is a reformed criminal who after a life threating accident must make it to Elysium to save himself. Max’s plight gets more complicated by his actions that involve child hood friend Frey (Braga), criminal friend Julio (Luna), unhinged mad man Kruger (Copley) and Elysium powerbroker Delacourt (Foster).

“They will hunt you to the edge of the Earth for this”

Review by Eddie on 16/08/2013

Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium was always going to be compared and weighed up against his fantastic feature debut District 9. District 9 came out of the film wilderness like wild fire setting the box office alight as well as critics and audiences with it’s unique look, feel and a film full of heart. When you look at District 9 v Elysium there is no real contest, when you look at Elysium as a standalone film and in competition with other summer fare this year it is however a unanimous winner.

In a summer filled with pretty sub-par fare bar the very entertaining Pacific Rim, the unique laughs of This is the End and the popcorn munching goodness of World War Z this year’s crop of tent pole pictures has been a measly offering indeed. Blomkamp has filled Elysium with enough visual goodies, enough thoughtful ideas and enough originality to sit proudly on the top of the summer blockbuster pile as Elysium provides the thrills and ad’s wit and a sprinkling of heart to boot.

The core of Elysium focuses on Matt Damon’s earth bound machine line worker Max, a risky move considering the opportunities the titular space bound station provides for a narrative but the move pays off. Damon is as likeable as ever and has a plight not un-similar to what Wikus faced in District 9. The audience is never not rooting for Max and Blomkamp fills many a scene with ample tension as Max is hunted through the worn down streets of Los Angeles (the real life slums of Africa adding realism as they did in District 9) on the run with baddies at every turn, these baddies being the ones that bring Elysium down from higher Sci-Fi company.

Sharlto Copley so good in District 9 here plays his loose cannon operative Kruger way to over the top, obviously given free reign by his good friend Blomkamp to go for broke with his character and it works against the film by seeming way out of place. Jodie Foster also as the Elysium based Delacourt does nothing to help the film with a strange performance and strange accent while poor old William Fitchtner just can’t catch a decent meaty role. The film also has a few plot conveniences but overall these things don’t dampen the films ideas or ruin audience enjoyment.

Elysium is a film worth catching on the big screen. Blomkamp has done a fantastic job capturing the beauty of Elysium as a habitat and the wastes of Earth. In Damon he has also found another great leading turn, one that makes you hope their partnership may continue ala Copley. Elysium is not without its flaws yet all can be forgiven thanks to its fast paced, well written story and direction. Summer blockbusters that have gone before Elysium this year can learn a trick or two from Blomkamp and his film while we the audience can sit back and enjoy the un-bloated ride.

4 futuristic tattoos out of 5

19 responses to “Film Review – Elysium (2013)

  1. Pingback: NSFCCDP Movie Review: Elysium (2013) – Not bad, but not District 9 either | Fino's Weblog·

  2. Pingback: Elysium and the Disenfranchised Middle Aged White Guy | Stars in Her Eye·

    • That’s a major quality of the film, the pacing. If anything it could of even been a slight bit longer, something of a rare occurrence when it comes to modern day blockbusters.

  3. Pingback: Pinned like a note in a hospital gown… #Elysium is a C-grade District 9 #reviews | Only The Sangfroid·

  4. Pingback: Elysium Review - Is life in America really that bad?·

  5. Nice to see a relatively positive review of this one – it would appear from some reviews I’ve read, that some people have completely missed where Blomkamp was headed in terms of his vision for this film.

    • Exactly – compared to most other Summer fare it’s a knight in shinning armour. I have a feeling it will be one that grows on people with age whereas District 9 was the instant hit with all from the get go.

  6. Pingback: Popcorn Bowl 12 – Elysium | swytla·

  7. Okay, cool. I’ve found another review that is very similar to what I had experienced, phew!!! lol

    I did enjoy this film quite a lot, and yes it did have a few weaknesses (surprisingly in Foster, Fichtner and Copley) but overall it was a mightily compelling film, with an uncommon level of drama and tension absent from a lot of blockbusters. I got pretty tired of the comparisons being made between this film and District 9. Obviously it’s an understandable argument to construct — that this film is a slight come-down from 2009, but come on. Rarely do filmmakers make back-to-back classics.

  8. Pingback: Elysium: Political meanings masquerading as science fiction | Roger Thomas Reviews·

  9. Pingback: Film Review – Chappie (2015) | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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