Neill Blomkamp's ELYSIUM
A Movie Review by Dennis D. McDonald
Elysium is an extraordinary film. The story is great, casting is superb, special effects are off the charts, and the action is very tightly focused and able to be followed.
Set design, vehicles, weapons, and costumes are perfect. Most of the action takes place in broad daylight. Despite this, the CGI effects are nearly indistinguishable from live-action. I was very hard pressed to tell which robots were “real” and which were digital, it’s that good.
But all the above is not why I was so impressed. Elysium displays a clash of cultures that, despite their distance in years from us, are all too recognizable as the gulf between the “haves” and the “have-nots” continues to grow.
That access to medical care is at the core of much of the story is particularly telling and plays to the fears of anyone who has ever put off going to the doctor because of a lack of health insurance. The movie shows what all this might be leading to and it ain’t pretty.
That such a serious message is packaged within what looks initially like an “action” film is, in my opinion, quite an impressive achievement.
Such clashes are often the stuff of science fiction novels. Seeing them brought so cleanly to the screen after decades of brain-dead “post-apocalyptic” slugfests was a real treat for this grizzled veteran moviegoer. You can enjoy it as an action thriller but, if you’re interested, the underlying stories and significance go way beyond that.
I’ll take Elysium over a comic book hero movie any day.
Movie review copyright (c) 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald