Movie Review – Elysium (2013)

The year is 2154, and Earth, is not a very nice place to be. In fact, earth is for the poor, the dying and the slum folk. If you are rich and beautiful, then you live on a pristine, space station called Elysium. In this ring-shaped object in the sky, the air is clean, unpolluted, and everything is lushly green and healthy. There are no slums, only expensive properties and modern penthouses. The people on Elysium spend their days entertaining, having parties, and laying by the pool, working on their golden tans (I think it would get a little boring if you did this all day, don’t you? ) Most importantly, Elysium, is disease and deformity free. It is the home of this super, “eternity-bed” contraption that can give life back to the dying and heal any disease even the paraplegic or those suffering from leukemia.


Anyway, back on the home planet, the air is polluted and nasty. Everybody is either poor, dying or about to die. Everyone is scrambling to get to Elysium, as you can imagine.


Elysium (brought to you by Sony Pictures) is the second feature by South-African-born director Neill Blomkamp, following his 2009 breakthrough District 9. With that earlier film, Blomkamp, created a seamless blend of handheld camera-work and sci-fi effects, which was the talk about town for a long time. But if District 9 showed off the prowess of Blomkamp and what he was capable of, with a relatively paltry $30 million budget, then Elysium demonstrates what he can do with a Hollywood-sized bankroll. The two worlds, that are worlds apart, are totally convincing. It helps that the actors are top notch too – I always enjoy watching Matt Damon (in action roles) and Jody Foster (in any role).

Jodie Foster

So the story unfolds, we meet Max De Costa (Matt Damon), a factory worker who lives in Los Angeles, and who’s job is to build police robots that keep the proletariat in check. An industrial accident causes him to be exposed to radiation poisoning, and he only has 5 days to live. So, he decides he needs to team up with Spider (Wagner Moura), a local gangster, who is the only one who can get him to Elysium. Spider runs shuttles of illegals, to Elysium, where the failure rate is high, and these ships are usually gunned down on the say-so of Jodie Foster’s ice queen defence secretary, before they can even land on Elysium soil. With nothing to lose, Max decides it is time to put everything on the line, and get his butt to Elysium. Alice Braga portrays the standard love interest as a childhood friend turned honourable nurse but it is Damon who provides the rich focus, a quietely determined good guy who has never been able to accept the literal gap between rich and poor.


It was a good show, for sure, with a great action pace. Were there loop holes? Definitely as well. Take for example – how does one person’s face get blown off, but survives.. yet a slash in the throat of another, kills them on the spot? For the first hour, the show is good. Once the movie reaches Elysium, though, it starts to fall apart, sacrificing its intelligence for futuristic gunplay and violent mayhem. It is as if, any part you don’t understand or that does not gel, should just be dismissed as “Oh it’s Sci-Fi”, that’s why!

Oh well, still an action packed show, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would not mind watching it again in 3D!

Watch the trailer :

1 Comment

  • ooo, i had been looking forward to this, but reviews seem kinda mixed, so now i’m not sure. i guess we all had higher expectations due to the director’s previous movie. but sounds like it’s still a cut above most other summer action flicks 😀

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