Elysium is a 2013 science fiction and action film directed by South African director, Neil Blomkamp. It stars, among others, Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and the always excellent Sharlto Copley
The story of Elysium is set about a century and a half into the future, and the societies of the world are disintigrating under the weight of povertry, crime and pollution. Meanwhile, the rich and powerful have abandoned the planet, now living in luxury on a huge torus habitat in orbit around Earth.
After being exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, the ex con Max (played by Matt Damon) gets involved in a desperate race to reach Elysium, where he hopes he can find a cure before dying.
I really enjoy science fiction like this. Neil Blomkamp’s visual style and world building, known from movies like District 9 and his science fiction shorts made in his production company Oats Studios, really comes to the forefront in this movie. He is a director who understands visual storytelling and a more realistic style of science fiction.
It is a beautiful, gritty and often very violent film. The special effects are top notch, even by today’s standards, using a very effective combination of models, CGI and mechanical effects. Also, special mention should go to Sharlto Copley and his role as the brutal black ops agent Kruger.
It is hard to ignore the politican commentaries in Elysium. Some of the main themes in the film revolves around the issues of illegal immigration, refugees and the gap between the rich and the poor. There is a commentary here that could easily fit with the political tension around Trump’s wall and the use of force to dissuade the poor and the desperate.
Be it poltical commentary or cyberpunk action, Elysium is an intense and beatiful film that is, in my opinion, very underrated.