Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

September 27, 2013

Bang for your buck!

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 11:40 pm

September 27, 2013

Cast: Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley, Jodie Foster, William Fichtner, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Announcing his arrival as an exciting, original voice with his terrific 2009 debut, the breathtaking sci-fi blast District 9, South African director Neill Blomkamp returns with Elysium, another intelligent action movie with a social message nicely woven in.

Set in 2154, a polluted and overpopulated Earth has been left to the poor by the rich, who now live in a paradise-like space station orbiting our planet. Up there in Elysium, sickness, crime and poverty do not exist. So when Max (Matt Damon), a reformed car thief, is injured in a radioactive accident, he becomes desperate to travel to Elysium to cure himself. Too bad he has to get past a psychopathic assassin first (Sharlto Copley), and then there’s that frosty defender of the rich world (Jodie Foster).

Echoing similar themes of social inequality and the high-handedness of the privileged class that he addressed in District 9, Blomkamp even adopts the same gritty shooting style, particularly for the Earth portions. Yet there’s a tidy contrasting elegance to the Elysium-set scenes…that is until spaceships come crashing into landscaped lawns, and Copley and Damon get down to some serious ass-kicking!

These two men in fact, are the film’s most interesting characters, and Elysium seldom misses a beat when it’s focusing on them. But a predictable final act, involving a valiant sacrifice and an aborted romance, slacken the film’s pace.

I’m going with three and a half out of five for Elysium. The budget’s bigger and the special effects are slicker, but this is a blockbuster with a brain. Best enjoyed with a big helping of popcorn.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. While the movie by itself was good, I just thought that there were too many echoes of the 2011 flick ‘in time’ in this movie.. Ironically preferred that flick to this film.. Surprised you didn’t notice the similar tones and line of thought between the movies..

    Comment by Bijoy — September 28, 2013 @ 11:19 am

  2. Agreed with your review.
    Film has a good visionary concept.
    I got bored in some parts,though.
    Hope this does not happen to Earth in future:)

    Comment by Raj — September 28, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

  3. Elysium is directed in a polished manner by Neil Blomkomp and competently performed by Matt Damon. It is a high concept film that brings with it imaginative set pieces along with razor sharp editing. Though it is a science fiction film there are certain elements in the film which are scarily real. In a nutshell a well made film.

    Comment by ishan rekhi — September 28, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

  4. I agree with you rajeev – It works for the social message and copley, damon does a good job of portraying their strange but believable predicaments. If the movie pales just a bit then that is because of the familirity we feel with similar genre works.. The earth sequences reminded me of not only district 9 but also that classic 2006 sci/fi “Children of men”. But still I liked this film for the right reasons and for the wrong ones.

    Comment by Sreejith — September 28, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

  5. This film is just like new total recall last year …. !

    Comment by Nir — September 29, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

  6. Excellent movie. I really liked Matt Damon…

    Comment by Ganapathi — October 3, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

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