Getting to "Elysium"

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Writer/Director Neill Blomkamp’s South African heritage is an obvious influence in his films. With two features under his belt now, “District 9” and “Elysium”, his ability to tell stories of the impoverished versus the rich, us versus them, etc. is his niche. While “Elysium” is not as gripping as his first work, it still delivers one of the better action films of the summer.

Matt Damon stars as Max, a citizen of the dystopian planet Earth in the year 2154. After humans polluted the planet, the rich created a gigantic space station to live on away from the rest of us called Elysium. Elysium is free of pollution, has machines that can cure anything, and is big enough that we can see it from Earth. With that, the geek in me wants to know...how did they create that thing and get it up there? That question isn’t answered, but everyone on Earth wants to get to Elysium, while Jodie Foster’s Delacourt will defend it at all costs. After being exposed to a lethal dose of radiation in a “you know you shouldn’t have gone in that container” move, Max is given five days to live. That’s five days to get to Elysium and save himself. 

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With the internal clock now running in the film, Max turns to Earth’s greatest criminal mind on all things Elysium to try and get a ticket to Elysium to clear his body of radiation. Like any deal with a criminal that you’ve already served three years in prison for, it comes with a price. What price is that you ask? Max has to have a droid exo-skeleton drilled into his own skeleton so that his body can be strong while the radiation is at work. Not only that, they have to steal codes to override the security of Elysium.

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The section of the movie that is a heist film is exciting and once our heroes have more information than they bargained for, Delacourt activates rogue military psycho Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to get it back. From there, it’s a race against time for everyone involved to preserve their life or way of life. 

Neill Bloomkamp’s dystopian worlds are vivid and always draw you in. He has power in his storytelling that makes sitting through another “the one that will save us all” movie entertaining. I hope with his next film he lets go of apartheid, border patrol, health care and other similar themes to move on to other topics. His first two have been entertaining but one more movie like these might be too much. “Elysium” is solid entertainment at the close of the summer blockbuster run!

Rating: B

 

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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.