Neill Blomkamp … keeps the action coherent and fills the plot with clever twists that make up for some of the insulting obviousness of the political allegory.
-Craig Seligman, Bloomberg

An exciting and visually stunning film, one which perhaps holds too much to a familiar path, but which is undeniably thrilling.
-John Lyus, HeyUGuys

You can save everyone.
There’s no coming back from this.

Elysium – Neill Blomkamp’s much anticipated follow-up to his 2009 sleeper hit District 9. The world has been wondering: Will Elysium meet the high expectations of matching the success of Blomkamp’s freshman effort?

The year 2154: humanity is divided between 2 worlds…

The results are mixed, but mostly land on the positive side of things. Elysium is a fairly worthy successor, but thematically isn’t as strong of a film as District 9. Blomkamp is undeniably a talented film maker but it seems the studio may have interfered just a bit too much with his artistic vision on this one. A comparison of District 9’s modest $30 million budget to the $115 million production of Elysium proves that there was much more at stake here, and certain choices the film makes are catered to a mass audience appeal.

…We live on Earth…
In the year 2154, the wealthiest inhabitants of Earth have split from the planet and formed a utopian space habitat known as Elysium, built by the Armadyne Corporation. Citizens of Elysium take advantage of luxuries that include access to private medical bays that instantly cure any illness. Meanwhile, The rest of the population remain below in the disease riddled and overcrowded slum of a planet that Earth has become.
…The privileged live on Elysium.

Minister Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is the Secretary of Defense on Elysium. Her job: to enforce the strict Earth immigration laws and protect the Elysium border at all costs. She is the commander of the Civil Cooperation Bureau, keeping Earth in line and its citizens in place. Her strict zero tolerance beliefs when it comes to Earth immigration isn’t shared by the bulk of the Elysium government, but she will do what it takes to protect Elysium from illegals.


Jodie Foster is terribly miscast in this role. The character is extremely one-note and we never completely find out her motivations for being as evil as she is. Why does she have this unadultered hatred for the citizens of Earth? We never learn her backstory and there is no character arc to be found. Foster deserves a lot better and had very little to work with here.


“Undocumented ships are approaching elysium airspace…shoot them down!”

Agent M Kruger (Sharlto Copley) is a crucial weapon and first line of defense in Secretary Delacourt’s arsenal to keep Elysium free of illegals. One of Elysium’s most important Earth-based sleeper agents, Kruger has untold human rights violations to his name and is a professional killer. His bloodlust is unmatched.


Kruger is one of the most outrageous and intense villains I have ever seen in a film. Copely holds nothing back and plays this character as a completely psychotic madman thirsty for blood. It’s pretty fantastic to watch his insane performance, especially during the final act of the movie when he is chasing down Damon’s character. It’s a spectacle to behold.

“Whoever has this, has the power to override their whole system”
Our hero, Max Da Costa, (Matt Damon) is a citizen of Earth who doesn’t “play by the rules”. After growing up as an orphan in the streets of the now shantytown Los Angeles, he spent a good chunk of his young adult life in and out of prison. He finally commits to pulling his life together until he experiences lethal exposure to radiation during a workplace accident at his job as an assembly line worker. Told he has just 5 days to live, Max seeks a way to outmaneuver Delacourt and Kruger, breach Elysium security and receive the medical attention he needs.

Damon is always outstanding in the action hero role and he does the same great work here. What makes this character even better are the biomedical implants he has surgically added: a neural transmitter and exoskeleton suit.

We’re going to break into the most heavily guarded place in the universe

Like District 9, the story of Elysium has a very strong political allegory under the surface, although it’s much more heavy handed this time around. It’s painfully obvious how badly the film wants to make statements on border control and class discrimination but a little more subtlety would have been nice. District 9 was much more nuanced with its own metaphor for the South African apartheid, to greater effect.

The world building, artificial intelligence, creature effects, sound design and CGI are all outstanding in Elysium. It is an absolute visual feast to watch. The shantytowns and slums of Earth look incredibly intricate and detailed and juxtapose perfectly with the sun-bathed landscapes, swimming pools and palacial mansions of Elysium. The Earth police force is made up of merciless drone robots that look and sound fantastic, even the parole officers are mechanized mannequin-like robots that fit the world perfectly.

Elysium is an incredibly fun science fiction film that falls a little flat when it comes to articulating it’s themes. The actors are all solid, aside for the terribly written evil-for-the-sake-of-being-evil character played by Jodie Foster. Sharlto Copely is a standout as deranged mercenary Kruger, the film is almost worth seeing just for him. Visually, the film looks phenomenal. The environments are all beautifully imagined and the characters are designed flawlessly. Although the heavy-handed take on inequality issues weigh the film down a bit and detract from the cool and interesting visuals, Elysium is still one of the better films of the summer and a blast to watch.

FilmFire review:
4.25/5 forms

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