2154. The rich people have left the polluted and pretty much destroyed Earth to live with all the good things on the space station Elysium, while the poor people are stuck down on Earth, living in squalor and sickness and pain. One of these people is Max (Matt Damon) who works hard and tries his best not to go back to prison. But when he’s exposed to a fatal amount of radiation in a work accident, which could be cured on Elysium, he takes on a mission with far more reach than just his own life.
Oh for fuck’s sake, Elysium was so freaking dumb I barely have words for it. It also used way too much shaky cam and it was boring. Dumb, boring and bad to look at (except the occasional space porn image) is like the movie trifecta of “stay away from me with your fucking film”.
I don’t even know where to start with the logical inconsistencies of the film. Maybe with the fact that pretty much the entirety of LA is latino in this future, apart from our blond, blue-eyed hero and savior Max (which is not only illogical but also racist)? Maybe with the operation Max goes through to have the exoskeleton attached to his body – and nobody bothers to undress him? They just fasten that contraption on top of his clothes? Maybe with the shedding petals everywhere cherry trees in the middle of a factory (seriously, dust can fuck machinery up – what do you think cherry blossoms will do)? Maybe with Frey (Alice Braga) who thinks that having a sick child is complicating her life so much that she better not have one herself at all, so going on dates or even just having a coffee with a friend is out of the question? How the hell does the space station have an atmosphere? And that is not even tackling the actual plot which is just as little thought through as the rest of the film. Like, how does Kruger (Sharlto Copley) get Carlyle’s files? They weren’t sent by wifi, it was a cable transmission after all. Has anybody actually thought about the (rather devastating) implications of the ending? What was the data transmission kill function and if it was the headache Max gets, why does it stop to work suddenly?
It is sad that so little was made of a concept that sounded pretty promising. (But then again District 9 sounded promising, too and it sucked as well.)
The cast wasn’t bad. Sharlto Copley obviously had fun and a film with him having fun is better than a film without him, having fun or not. William Fichtner made every scene he was in so much better, he made the first half of the film bearable (why did he have to die?). Wagner Moura was great. Diego Luna and Alice Braga get too little to do. Jodie Foster was brilliant (as kathrintha put it, “I would have loved to see the Margaret Thatcher in space movie Jodie Foster thought she was in”).
But when you combine the clusterfuck of the plot with the ubiquitous shaky cam (I read in some review somewhere, I can’t recall where, “apparently in the future, tripods go extinct”), this movie is far beyond saving. It’s not entertaining, it’s not smart and I just wanted it to be over.
Summarizing: Maybe Blomkamp and me will have better luck next time. I doubt it.