Neill Blomkamp had four years to figure out how he would follow up the surprise smash hit District 9. Well it was well worth the wait as Blomkamp’s latest directorial project brings to life a futuristic society that is divided my millions of miles of space in the fantastic hit, Elysium.
Within minutes you are immediately engrossed in a barren wasteland futuristic society. The world is overpopulated and poor, with disease breaking out everywhere. Members of society who are well-off have fled the planet and gone to Elysium, a floating entity that not only sustains human life, but has found the key to virtual immortality.This world is full of health pods that can heal any injury or disease, so long as the brain remains in tact. It reminded me of a real life version of Wall-E, with the two worlds of empty trash on earth, and the space cruise ship high in the sky.
After an accident at work exposes Max (Matt Damon) to a lethal dose of radiation, he is given five days to live. Determined to survive, Max teams up with an old henchmen friend of his to get a ticket on the next shuttle to Elysium. Armed with a robot like skeleton suit to support him, Max embarks on a quest to earn the ticket that will save his life. The journey is full of explosions, body parts flying everywhere (seriously, a lot of body parts flying), and palpable tension that drives the action throughout the cinematic experience.
It was also great to see Sharlto Copley back under the direction of Blomkamp. Copley thrived as the hero turned alien in District 9, and in Elysium, he plays the chief human villain Kruger. Max and Kruger have some intense battles that are the apexes of action in the movie, and I was completely engaged in their intense confrontations.
One of the biggest surprises for me was the devilishly evil Jodie Foster, who played Delacourt, the secretary of defense figure on Elysium. Foster is overtly and consistently heartless throughout the movie, and serves as the burning source of villainy for the first half of the movie before Kruger steps his game up.
Elysium effortlessly weaves some of the best action scenes you will see all year with an intense personal story that encompasses the immense difference in economic classes. Damon is his usual fantastic self, playing a hero who is down on his luck and battles for his life at every turn it seems. Elysium is one of the best action films of the year, and in a greater scale, is one of the best Science Fiction movies made in the last decade. Take two hours out of your weekend and travel to the future. You won’t regret it.