Elysium whisks us into the year 2154, where the class divide has gone completely bonkers. With the Earth overpopulated and over-polluted, society has become a clear split of those that have and those that have not. The haves, are the rich and wealthy who now live on Elysium, the space station orbiting the planet. Elysium provides a heavenly existence, with unimaginable luxuries. On top of this, they live extremely long and healthy lives due to the use of med-bays that can cure any illness. Their lives are perfect while, the have nots live on a planet ravaged by disease and live in a dirty world of poverty.
Any unauthorized attempt to go to this paradise in the skies is immediately stopped. But that does not stop hundreds of people paying vast sums of money to make the journey, in a desperate attempt to seek a better life. Nobody can seek asylum on Elysium. In fact, it seems that the people of Elysium care not if the people of earth live or die.
But, when Max De Costa finds that he must get to Elysium or die within five days, he makes a deal with a people trafficker to get him a guaranteed one-way ticket to save his life. However, Max gets more than he bargained for and could now hold the key that will change everything for everyone on Earth. Now fitted with a powerful exo-skeleton suit and carrying the answer to a new world, can he get to Elysium and open up the treasures that will save him and the rest of the planet?
Elysium is the second film from the immensely talented writer and director Neill Blomkamp. His first film District 9, certainly stamped his arrival in a powerful way. He has a real gift when creating futuristic dystopian sci-fi worlds and an instantly recognisable cinematic style. For me, Blomkamp is one of the finest directors of modern times.
It is fair to say that Elysium had a significantly better budget than District 9. The immaculate world of Elysium is outstanding. But, everything else has a dirty realistic hue that is used with incredible effect to display the stark contrast between the two societies. The music score is amazing too, composed by Ryan Amon.
However, there is a downside. For me, it feels like the Hollywood production team may have had too much input on Elysium. Because, whilst the main premise is a strong focus in the first act, it does get overshadowed in favor of all-out action in the final two acts. That leaves the social statement somewhat lost and everything feeling a little rushed. Let's just say that Blomkamp, certainly rectified this with his third film Chappie.
Ok, let's say that if there is an American production team involved, there will be some American names up on the posters too. And sure enough, we get Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. First up, personally I am not a great fan of Matt Damon. But, he is fantastic here plying the adult Max De Costa. Jodie Foster is great too, playing the outrageously corrupt and power-crazy defense secretary of Elysium. William Fichtner is cast as the super-rich CEO of a large corporation on Earth.
For me, however, the real talent that truly shines in Elysium comes from Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna, and Wagner Moura. Both Diego Luna and Wagner Moura, are both amazing and display all of their star quality here. And have since gone onto receive huge roles in the likes of Narcos and Star Wars: Rogue One. However, as far as I am concerned, Sharlto Copley completely steals the show. This guy is outstanding and gifts us with one of the darkest villains ever witnessed in the history of cinema. Every time I watch Elysium, as soon as I hear the words “activate Kruger” I know exactly what is coming. One of the best characters ever!
So as you can guess I love Elysium. Although, I must make it quite clear that I am a huge fan of all the films made by Neill Blomkamp. Yes, it has some issues, but it is still a fantastic film. As far as thought-provoking Sci-Fi films go, Blomkamp is head of the class. Taking that into account, I can't recommend it enough.