Elysium [2013]

4stars

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Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Written by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, Alice Braga, William Fichtner

Maybe I just like swimming against the current, but I have no qualms in saying Elysium is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year and probably the most satisfying cinematic experience, from beginning to end, I’ve had in the months that have passed since 2013 began. 

Neill Blomkamp approaches this more-than-worthy follow-up to 2009’s spectacular and deservedly Oscar-nominated District 9 (so many hyphens, it’s crazy), with a less cerebral and more action-driven vision, which I surprisingly didn’t mind. 

Just as D9 was an allegory of apartheid, Elysium tackles the hot-button issues of illegal immigration and access to healthcare and transports them to a devastated Earth in 2154 to get the point across. A bit heavy-handedly, I know, but what’s good sci-fi without political agenda? 

Putting aside Jodie Foster’s odd light switch of an accent, how great is the cast? Matt Damon confirms his status as one of the finest leading men working right now, and he’s got the outstanding support of brazilians Wagner Moura and Alice Braga. It’s Sharlto Copley, back with Blomkamp after a terrific breakthrough in D9, who steals scenes as mad-dog villain Kruger, a hammy, thickly accented tornado of a performance. 

As I write this, I’m unable to understand the avalanche of hate that’s fallen over Elysium, a definite highlight of the summer season and an exciting, intelligent actioner that should’ve made a star out of Neill Blomkamp but, again, didn’t. 

Maybe next time, dude.

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