Set in the year 2154, a man-made space station with wealthy residents comes under threat when one of the inhabitants of the now ruined Earth threatens to bring equality to their polarised worlds.
Elysium has an earthy realism like director Neill Blomkamp’s own District 9 (2009), the special effects are outstanding, the on location feel, costumes, sets and music score gives it a gritty atmosphere. On display is a realistic overpopulated future Earth in contrast to the spatial Elysium both of which are wonderfully realised.
Matt Damon proved his worth as an action star with intelligence and stealth in The Bourne Identity (2002) but he appears slightly miscast here – that said he does a good enough job and brings some needed emotion and likability to his characters unsavoury past. Jodie Foster is simply outstanding as Delacourt, a steely no-nonsense executive although her screen time is limited. Villain Kruger played by District 9’s Sharlto Copley – and like Foster – freshly plays against the stereo-type Hollywood antagonists. There’s also a strong supporting cast including the likes of William Fichtner and Alice Braga with each of the supporting characters right down to Kruger’s sidekicks being developed and given attention by writer, director Blomkamp.
As with Blomkamp’s previous outing there plenty of subtext in the screenplay and amongst the great action setups and visual spectacles there’s also a straight forward story for all to enjoy. As with any film and especially in science fiction it’s difficult to come up with entirely original ideas and Elysium is no exception but everything is packaged arguably better and more authentic than in other recent sci-fi movies.
It’s not Blomkamp’s masterpiece but it’s still a finely executed science fiction with shrewdness which certainly raises the bar in terms visual effects. In addition, it has more to say than most films of the genre.