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Elysium (2013) **

Elysium (2013) **

Elysium is a sci-fi action-thriller written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. It describes our world in the not too far future, where the one percent of humanity are living like the ancient privileged mortals, selected by the Gods for an afterlife of luxury in the fields of Fortunate (Elysian Fields,) while the remaining ninety nine percent live hard life of labor on a dirty, overpopulated Earth.
I went to see Elysium mostly because I appreciated Blomkamp's previous feature, District 9, and also because I have a soft spot for Matt Damon. However, I am disappointed to report that Elysium is a major letdown. While Blomkamp may have intended for this futuristic film to be a current sociological commentary on health-care and class issues, the story is so full of stereotypes and plain silliness that it is impossible to take it seriously. During some scenes I actually felt bad for Damon and Foster having to keep a straight face while pretending to take their roles in earnest. To add insult to injury, the film, in its later and even more foolish part, packs melodrama to a point of puking.
On the positive side (yes, there are a few positives here,) the special effects and art direction are superb, as are the engaging action scenes.
I am tempted to say that ultimately Elysium is all about saving a little girl with Leukemia, but even that would be an overstatement...
This is one film you can skip. I hope Blomkamp will do better with his storyline in his next feature.

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