Elysium 2013 Movie Scene Matt Damon as Max wearing an exoskeleton with a special interface plugged directly into his brain walking towards a spaceship landing

Elysium [2013]

Four years after he blew us away with a science fiction gem District 9, South African director Neill Blomkamp was back. This time he had a lot more money at his disposal which translated into better production values, special effects, and Matt Damon in a lead role. Elysium is an action-packed post-apocalyptic movie exploring some interesting concepts. The term: a mile wide but an inch deep applies perfectly to this movie. And the same goes for its inner logic that’s full of flaws. However, if you’re willing to stay on the surface, Elysium offers a lot of fun. 

We will be following Max, an ex-criminal now working a dead-end job and hoping to get to that elusive better life. One accident is going to change all and set him on a very different path. I remember watching Elysium for the first time some ten years ago and absolutely loving it. First of all, the protagonist of this science fiction epic is an ordinary worker just like me or you. He’s not some superhero although he knows how to handle himself in tough situations. Secondly, the post-apocalyptic world is not too dissimilar from the one we’re currently living in.

The elites have been building their gated communities for decades and we can only expect them to continue to do so. They can also afford all the medical treatments and checkups they need unlike the working poor. I could go on and on, but I would rather leave this part out for you to discover. The world building is excellent and offers a realistic vision of the future. Robots have become the enforcers of this crooked system of values, making the whole thing feel poetic as fuck. Certain scenes are at the same time hilarious and tragic showing the final stage of capitalism.

Additionally, they look excellent, especially during the fights. Something Blomkamp will perfect in his next movie. When it comes to the hacking and other tech-related aspects of this movie, I couldn’t help but remember a forgotten nineties science fiction gem Johnny Mnemonic. It features a similar technology of storing information directly in the brains of people. Supposedly this makes it more secure, although I can see only problems with something like this.

It is the year of our lord Satan 2154 and the world is even shittier than you could’ve imagined. Poverty, crime, and diseases are widespread but only in the majority of the population. The elites have moved away to the space station Elysium orbiting the Earth. There, they live in a utopian society without any problems or issues. Far away from that place we find Max, an ordinary worker with a criminal past. And Max is about to have the worst day of his life.

Apart from cool gadgets and robots, this post-apocalyptic world also brings powerful exoskeletons. These contraptions offer you unbelievable strength making you powerful enough to take down a military robot. Matt Damon, leaning on his experience while making the Bourne franchise, was excellent. However, the star of the show, at least for me, was Sharlto Copley as the ruthless mercenary Kruger. I just can’t get over his hilarious and fascinating accent. Each time he began to speak I kept waiting for it to pop up. And when it did, I just fucking loved it! Check him out in Free Fire for more of that. 

Apart from this gruesome twosome, Elysium also stars Jodie Foster, Alice Braga (I Am Legend), Diego Luna (Rogue One), and Wagner Moura (Elite Squad). William Fichtner was born to play these corporate asshole-type roles he played in many movies before. Speaking of the cast, I find it hilarious that Blomkamp first offered the role to Ninja from Die Antwoord (he’s an asshole, look him up). He refused it and then the offer was passed on to fucking Eminem. After he didn’t want to do it either, Matt Damon was finally cast as Max. 

The way Elysium ended just didn’t make any sense. Which is quite strange considering just how much potential the story had. The same goes for some of the earlier developments that felt contrived. Like the one where Matt crawls to the hospital just in time for his crush Frey to see him. However, those flaws are quickly forgotten when the action starts or you see another cool shot of the space station or something else. It’s equally good as Blomkamp’s next movie Chappie despite my strong dislike of the cast members. Always remember to separate the art from the artist.

Despite these flaws, Elysium is definitely a science fiction movie worth watching. It’s visually and conceptually stunning offering an adrenaline-fueled experience in a world we’ll probably end up living. And if you’re a computer guy/girl pay attention to all the gadgets they’re using. I’m sure you’re going to recognize various computer parts still in use today like IDE cables, fans, and power supplies.

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Writer: Neill Blomkamp

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

Fun Facts: At one point you can see the biography for John Carlyle (played by William Fichtner) on the computer screen stating that he’s actually 144 years old.


IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1535108/

YouTube player