Film Review by Kam Williams
Sick Seek Help at Utopian Space Station in Futuristic Sci-Fi Thriller
It’s 2154, a time when the Earth has become so polluted and overpopulated that all of the idle rich have abandoned the planet to loll in the lap of luxury on a state-of-the-art space station. Their decadent enclave, Elysium, looks suspiciously similar to Beverly Hills, being dotted with palm trees, mansions and built-in swimming pools.
Down below, the teeming masses of poor people struggle to survive, with escape to Elysium being their only hope for a decent existence. Of course, that’s easier said than done, since you have to be able to afford a ride aboard an expensive rocket ship just to get there. And, even after arriving, you have to provide the authorities proof of citizenship in order to stay.
The job of preventing illegal immigrants from entering Elysium falls to its steely Secretary of Defense Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster), a heartless ice princess who has no qualms about shooting unauthorized space shuttles right out of the sky. She ostensibly does the bidding of John Carlyle (William Fitchner), the nefarious CEO of Armadyne Corporation, much to the chagrin of the orbiting outpost’s president (Faran Tahir).
For, it’s impossible for any politician to reign in the powerful defense contractor, a fact which humble everyman Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) is about to learn the hard way. He only has five days to live after being exposed to a lethal dose of radiation in an industrial accident.
After his request for medical treatment readily available on Elysium is summarily denied, he becomes determined to breach the border of the remote oasis by hook or by crook. He also wants to bring along his childhood friend, Frey (Alice Braga), and her young daughter (Emma Tremblay) who is suffering from acute leukemia. Standing in their way, however, is Kruger (Sharlto Copley), a blood-thirsty, heavily-armed mercenary deputized by Delacourt to patrol Los Angeles make sure no unworthy earthlings ascend to her exclusive abode.
Directed by Neill Blomkamp, Elysium is a distinctly disappointing sophomore effort from the South African wunderkind who‘d made such a spectacular splash in 2009 with the sleeper hit District 9. This film feels like he’s all out of ideas, between the exploration of similar themes revolving and a cliché-ridden script filled with hack, action flick lines like: “That’s what I’m talking about,” “You have no idea,” and “I’m just getting started.”
An underwhelming, sci-fi adventure more akin to After Earth than District 9.
Fair (1.5 stars)
Rated R for pervasive profanity and graphic violence
Running time: 109 minutes
Distributor: Tri-Star Pictures
To see a trailer for Elysium, visit: