Sunday, August 11, 2013


I am a fan of writer/director Neill Blomkamp's District 9, so I was very much looking forward to seeing his new creation, Elysium.  After having watched the movie, I can recommend it, though with the reservation that very little about it will surprise you.

If you've seen the trailer, you know the plot.  If you haven't, you'll still figure out the basics in the first ten minutes of the film, so I won't go into it much here.  Suffice to say that Blomkamp attacks another oppressive group, this time the rich.  The story proceeds largely as you expect it to, which is fine, as long as something else carries you along.

Fortunately, Elysium has two forces that compel you to keep watching.  No, it's not the two leads, Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, who get the most play in the trailers.  Damon is fine, completely adequate in the role, but he doesn't shine in it.  Foster plays her part with a grim, "where is my paycheck?" sort of determination, as if more disgusted by her role than by the dirty people on Earth who want to invade her orbital paradise.

What most pulls you through the movie is its look, the scenes on Earth in a crowded, run-down, future Los Angeles.  As was the case in District 9, Blomkamp delivers dsytopic landscapes like no one else.  Just watching an injured Damon trudge through a sprawling favela was a visual treat.

The other gripping force was the performance of Sharlto Copley, the mousy protagonist of District 9, as a psychopathic sleeper agent on Earth.  Every moment he was on screen was a treat.  Even in the too-long fight scenes, he was fun to watch.

I recommend you catch this one in the theater if you can, because the urban landscapes alone deserve time on a big screen.

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