At the Movies - Elysium - Review

Matt Damon in 'Elysium'.
Matt Damon in 'Elysium'.

It might be the number one movie in the country but don’t be fooled, ‘Elysium’ is far from perfect.

Set in the year 2154, planet Earth is disease ridden and its natural resources are virtually non-existent.

The wealthy leave Earth for a salubrious man made space station called, Elysium where they enjoy a disease free life and unrivalled opulence.

The fact that Elysium can cure any human being of any disease is impossible to ignore for the poor back on Earth.

Time after time, they attempt to infiltrate the colony but the rich refuse to share their great gift and unauthorised ships are blown to smithereens.

Criminal come good, Max Da Costa (Damon - ‘The Bourne Identity’), irks out a living as a factory worker but after he’s exposed to a lethal dose of radiation his only chance of survival is to travel to Elysium within five days. However, after a few unexpected twists and turns, Max is presented with the chance to change the future of mankind forever.

The scenes on Earth were shot in the poor Iztapalapa district near Mexico City and bear a striking resemblance to Neil Blomkamp’s previous offering, ‘District Nine’.

It’s not to say the similarities between both films are in anyway distracting, in fact Los Angeles in 2154 feels utterly authentic but it’s the film’s plot and Jodie Foster’s performance which makes ‘Elysium’ feel a little disappointing.

Written by Blomkamp, ‘Elysium’ is centred around Damon’s character Max but halfway through the film, movie bad guy and star of ‘District 9’, Sharlto Copley threatens to encapsulate Damon with his portrayal of the violent and crazed special agent Kruger.

Kruger and his cronies are tasked by Elysium’s Minister of Defence, Delacourt (Jodie Foster - ‘Silence of the Lambs’) to hunt down Max and make sure he doesn’t reach Elysium.

Copley was unforgettable as the loveable Wikus Van De Merwe in ‘District 9’ but in ‘Elysium’ he’s a samurai sword wielding lunatic.

At the start of the film, Kruger is a thug for hire but within the space of about 40 minutes he transforms into a man obsessed with becoming the ruler of the Elysium - it just doesn’t feel right.

Then there’s Foster.

Foster is without question a talented actress but her performance here leaves a lot to be desired and when she’s on screen her dialogue looks and sounds as if it was dubbed during the editing of the film.

Foster’s character, Delacourt, also prances around speaking French (which is never explained) to anyone who will listen and I counted three different accents throughout. Foster was distracting to say the least and it took attention away from what was a half decent science fiction/action film.

Some of the action sequences and fight scenes are fantastic and Blomkamp is a director with the ability to make big scenes feel even bigger.

Furthermore, Blomkamp’s vision of a dying planet Earth basking in such rich and unrelenting sunlight is at times beautiful and along with ‘District 9’ it’s quickly becoming a signature technique.

It’s a decent film but if it hadn’t have been for a predictable plot, uneven character distribution and Jodie Foster’s lips then ‘Elysium’ could have so easily been unforgettable.

‘Elysium’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl; for full listings visit or telephone 028 71 371 999.