One man against all odds, the underdog prevails or the triumph of right against wrong are all clichés that describe the plot of director Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi film Elysium.
The year is 2154 and the worlds wealthy have moved off-planet to an artificial plant called Elysium. And while the rich enjoy a peaceful life of clean air, environment and perfect health the poor on earth are treated like a colony that provides the goods.
Ex-convict Max (Matt Damon) is trying to change his life around and achieve the great things he believes he is capable of. When his arm is injured he encounters his old love interest and childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga) who is working as a nurse in the hospital. Max tries to convince her that he is a changed man, but before he can prove that he is, his life spiral out of control.
While Max is fighting for survival on Earth, Defense Minister Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is making a move for power. Without any regard for human life or consequences Delacourt makes decisions, her paid assassin Kruger (Sharlto Copley) always at hand to do her dirty work.
Like in his 2009 hit District 9 the world Blomkamp portraits in Elysium is gritty, dusty, grey and not working. Again healthcare, illegal immigrants and power-hungry politicians take center stage but sadly Elysium it is a less emotional social commentary than his Oscar nominated film.
That said the premise of Elysium is good, it just doesn’t quite live up to its grand promise. And while Damon does a solid job of playing the fighting underdog Max, Foster is horrible as Delacourt, especially her odd accent is very off-putting. One of the highlights of Elysium is the delightfully gruesome Kruger and Copley does a wonderful job in bringing his pure evil to life.
Elysum is quite a complicated film with lots of different levels and plots. So with all the different storyline mingling together it seems a little too much to find Max not only dealing with a political coup but a personal struggle as well.
Overall Elysium is a good sci-fi film, with some full-on action scenes, gritty story telling, some big ideas and a hunky looking hero.