Ely­sium de­liv­ers strongly

Kapi-Mana News - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Star­ring: Matt Da­mon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Co­p­ley, Alice Braga Writ­ten and di­rected by Neill Blomkamp Ac­tion, drama, science fic­tion, thriller. 1hr 49min. R16 for vi­o­lence and of­fen­sive lan­guage Now show­ing at Read­ing Porirua, The Em­bassy and Read­ing Courte­nay Place

Great sci- fi has al­ways been a metaphor for the hu­man con­di­tion. Ely­sium, by Dis­trict 9 di­rec­tor Neill Blomkamp, owes a lot to the idea that by ex­am­in­ing a fan­tasy world, we can take a closer look at our own.

It’s 2154 and earth is a cesspool of over­pop­u­la­tion, des­per­a­tion and ex­treme poverty.

Mean­while, the ul­tra- rich are se­questered on a space sta­tion par­adise called Ely­sium, where ill­ness and poverty are unimag­in­able and ev­ery whim is catered to by ro­bots and ma­chines built by the strug­gling masses back on Earth.

Af­ter a hor­rific ac­ci­dent at an Earth­bound ro­bot fac­tory, ex-con Max (Matt Da­mon) is told he has five days to live un­less he can get to Ely­sium.

With the Min­is­ter of De­fence (Jodie Foster) and her hench­man ( Sharlto Co­p­ley) on his tail, and ex­hibit­ing the acute self­ish­ness the pres­sures of the sys­tem de­mand, Max re­fuses to help a for­mer flame get her sick daugh­ter up to the sta­tion, too.

But when she’s dragged into the fight with him any­way, Max must de­cide if the needs of the many will out­weigh his own needs.

Mas­sively con­vo­luted and con­trived – there are some jar­ring co­in­ci­dences – the plot is the weak­est part of this sump­tu­ous film.

Blomkamp’s eye for de­tail is the real star – from the exquisitely re­alised ro­bot cops who are just as jerk­ish as any film cop ever was, to the Ver­sace- styled heal­ing pods, the world of Ely­sium has enough depth and ve­rac­ity to put it along­side classics like Blade Run­ner and Alien.

As a more than 11⁄ hour metaphor for the One Per Cent v Oc­cupy move­ment, it re­ally works, de­spite the heavy­handed treat­ment cast­ing the greed of the up­per classes in a very cold light.

Un­for­tu­nately, Da­mon seems com­pletely out of his depth next to the sci-fi ele­ments.

There’s not even enough Ja­son Bourne left in him to sell much of the ac­tion, and Da­mon is never vul­ner­a­ble enough to pull off the des­per­ate ne’er-dow­ell.

Sharlto Co­p­ley, on the other hand, seems dis­com­fort­ingly at ease in his role as the psy­chotic mil­i­tary at­tack dog.

His ac­cent will not fail to get a laugh, but it’ll be an un­com­fort­able one. He’s down­right de­spi­ca­ble.

Al­though the emo­tion falls a lit­tle flat, I can’t help think­ing Ely­sium is des­tined for great­ness.

It’s clever, beau­ti­ful, and po­lit­i­cally, stands firmly on the side of the an­gels. Also seen: Stoker (R16): An icy cold com­ing-of-age film meets psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller by Korean mae­stro, Chan-wook Park.

Vi­o­lent, dis­tanced, ut­terly beau­ti­ful.

You’re Next (R18): The best fun you’ll ever have watch­ing a fam­ily be bru­tally mur­dered.

A grown-up slasher film.

The Con­jur­ing (R16): Jump scares, creepy crawlies and tor­tured spir­its abound in this tried and true hor­ror.

Po­lit­i­cally cor­rect: Matt Da­mon faces off against the One Per Cent in Ely­sium, a sci-fi which says more about mod­ern fi­nan­cial prac­tices than space shut­tles.

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