Let me go straight to the point: if you’ve seen “District 9”, you probably know that Neill Blomkamp is an ambitious Sci-Fi filmmaker. But in case you’re expecting “Elysium” to be as fresh and exceptional as the director’s previous effort, you might be slightly disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong, “Elysium” is still a major accomplishment. It’s revved up on visionary action, laced with dark humor and powered by a solid idea: in 2154, earth is a dump where the poor live in horrible conditions. Only the privileged few get to live on Elysium, a space station orbiting earth and run with no mercy by Defense Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster, in fine form). Matt Damon, in yet another first rate performance, is a factory worker on earth who helps engineer droids. One day he is irradiated in a factory accident and is given 5 days to live. The solution? Get to Elysium and find an instant cure. It’s a hell of a setup and in order for it to work we have to believe in this futuristic world…and we do, even if it’s cold blooded and a bit difficult to cozy up to at first. Blomkamp and his crew, along with Damon and a terrific cast that includes Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner and Alice Braga, rate cheers for grabbing us hard. And even if the results are less than perfect, I still admire what Blomkamp has pulled off, the same way I fell under the spell of his debut feature, “District 9”. He’s a real talent with an unlimited vision. His film works on two levels, providing an entertaining ride but also giving us food for thought, proving that summer movies don’t have to be brainless to be successful. Final verdict: Great, no. Good, hell yes.
Categories: The Twenty-First Century