Archive for August 19th, 2013

Ambitious mix of action sequences and social justice ideas fuel Neill Blomkamp’s dynamic ‘Elysium’

August 19, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 19, 2013

Elysium is an action-packed science-fiction film with a heart for social justice.

Sadly, this fun, dynamic film has no real clue how to go about achieving social justice in the real, non-cinematic world. Still, the fast-moving storyline and appealing characters go a long way toward making up for that rather significant flaw.

The second feature to be written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, following District 9Elysium shares a number of things with its 2009 predecessor. Both take place in dusty, dystopian, urban futures. In both movies, machines hovering above Earth contain wonders that most humans are eager to obtain — wonders that also threaten to exacerbate existing inequality.

Elysium is set in and above Los Angeles in the year 2154. The film is named after a luxurious orbiting space station to which our overpopulated and polluted planet’s aristocrats moved themselves some years previously. The film’s hero is one Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), an ex-con who has been trying to walk the straight and narrow.

Da Costa works in an immense factory owned by Armadyne Corp., an arms maker controlled by the Elysium-based John Carlyle. After Da Costa loses his job thanks to an industrial accident, he turns to a crime lord named Spider for help. Before too long, Da Costa is shooting down Carlyle’s personal transport in an attempt to download the secrets in his head.  Read the rest of this entry »

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