In the year 2154, society has been divided into two classes of people: the privileged people who live in a place called Elysium –a gleaming orbiting space station, where the grass is lush green and the dwelling places extravagant, with no poverty, no war, nor sickness—while the rest of the world’s inhabitants were left on Earth in what seems to be a vast wasteland of pollution and overpopulation, run by droid policemen and callous Bureaucrats from Elysium that occasionally visits the ruined planet. The people of Earth are in desperate need of the state-of-the-art medical treatment, which is available only in Elysium, this subsequently leads to illegal, uninvited visits spearheaded by a group of Earth’s refugees. Unfortunately for these unofficial shuttles, and their dream for a better health service, they are being shot down (literally) by the station’s Homeland security led by the Secretary of Defense, and when there were any survivors, who successfully landed on Elysium, they will be documented as illegal aliens and will be subjected for deportation. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy who, from being an ex-con, is now working in a plant that creates robots. After being exposed in a radiation so lethal that it will kill him in literally five days, Max searches for a desperate way to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (played by Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well, one of which is the young daughter of his childhood best friend (Frey, played by Alice Braga), who has leukemia.
Elysium is the sophomore offering by South African-born director Neil Blompkamp, following his 2009 breakthrough movie and modern-classic District 9, which for me, one of my favorite sci-fi movies of all time. Coming from a relatively lower budget of roughly $30 million in District 9, the budget for this film is obviously higher for Elysium is his Hollywood debut. And when an undersized project sets foot to a wider scale that is Hollywood, everything seems to explode with wondrous amounts of movie enchantments.
Matt Damon delivered such an unbelievable believability for his role as an oppressed individual, who dreams of becoming someone better, including being thrown into an exo-skeletal surgical enhancement that would make him virtually stalwart, as well as being viable to extract information into the brain of the industry captain (William Fichtner) that consists of a vital information.
With Damon’s terrific performance, one thing is clear for me though, he was slightly overshadowed by Sharlto Copley’s outrageous performance as a rogue assassin. For me, Copley is the star of the film! He was the same guy from District 9 and judging from that film and his other films like A-Team, this actor can certainly deliver the goods. On the other hand, Jodie Foster gives a commendable performance as the cunning Defense Secretary with a pretty weird accent, something that oddly comes out of her mouth that seemed like she was dubbed by a foreign actress.
And Blompkamp raises the stakes in crafting masterful artistry and utterly convincing visuals, with eye-popping, guts-splattering special-effects. The plot, however, may be a little similar to District 9, or better yet, a mirror-image, with District 9 as the superior of the two. With all things considered, Elysium is great, great, action movie that gives a satirical interpretation of the human society where the rich are very high and righteous and the poor are left at the bottom, trying to reach for higher ground, or in this movie, literally out-of-this-world, Elysium.
4.5 out of 5 stars