[critical] ELYSIUM

In 2154, there are two categories of people : the very wealthy, who live on the perfect space station created by men called Elysium, and the other, those who live on the Earth become overpopulated and ruined. The population of the Earth tries desperately to escape the crime and poverty that continually do spread. Max, an ordinary man to join Elysium is all the more vital, is the only person who has a chance to re-establish the equality between these two worlds. While his life hangs by a thread, he is reluctant to take part in this mission of the most dangerous – rise against Secretary Delacourt and her armed forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his life but also that of millions of people on Earth.

Author’s Note


Release Date : August 14, 2013

Directed by Neill Blomkamp

Film american

With Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, William Fichtner, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga

Duration : 1h50min

Original title : Elysium

Trailer :

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Four years after the noticed DISTRICT 9, here is the second feature film for the director, south african Neill Blomkamp : ELYSIUM. After having proved that a science-fiction film intelligent could work, and what with the financial means reasonable, with a narrative that is both socially engaged and a certain originality, one would tend to believe that here we are trying to prove to us that it should not sell the skin of a bear when it comes to putting on a pedestal a young director.

The first third of ELYSIUM left yet good hope on its content. There was a world, dirty and poor, very well-illustrated by the decorations of the slums of Mexico city, the elements cyberpunks discreet but effective (exoskeletons, black market, etc.) and the fable of social class struggle promised a bit of background, which most movies of this summer 2013 have sorely missed. Unfortunately very quickly, we fall into the caricature of science-fiction film with lots of inconsistencies which, if they are excusable in works much more “pop-corn” (as recently in PACIFIC RIM for example), are here quite unbearable : the logic of the characters is sometimes completely incomprehensible, the world of Elysium is empty and is far from the imagination of the viewer (it boils down to a government and from 3-4 individuals in a swimsuit), and the elements of science fiction “hard” is laughable (it, design of the station, Elysium, etc). And I will pass on the love-interest of the hero, the ultimate déjà-vu, with the childhood love found by chance at the beginning of the film… well, the pattern of class struggle is here, horribly cliché, and the notion of incurable disease brings to the transformation of the agent in DISTRICT 9 : the director seem also to be obsessed by the notion of metamorphosis with the mechanization of the hero played by Matt Damon.

A film pretentious, and a disappointment as big as the talent of the director seems to be so messed up.

Yet visually, the film is extremely successful, thanks in particular to a technical team that had been proven on the first feature film from Neill Blomkamp reformed for the occasion. With the exception of fighting too many drafts with a camera too close to the action, the universe of the film has a visual identity very well marked : close to that of DISTRICT 9, when the robots replace here the aliens, we can observe here a spacecraft as well as a station Elysium, the very elegant and cold (thanks to Weta and ILM), in opposition to slums mexican dirty, warm, and animated. Nevertheless, it was a little bit the impression that the money brought in this production (the triple or the quadruple of the previous film) has a bit polluted the together with the presence of some investment products and a choice of casting more bankable with Matt Damon, Jodie Foster (here, extremely grotesque) or even William Fichtner (HELLDRIVER, LONE RANGER) but where, ultimately, it is above all the revelation of his previous film, Sharlto Copley, that spring, with the honors of a role darker than the one he had in being the main protagonist of DISTRICT 9…

ELYSIUM had many strengths and the technical skills of Neill Blomkamp and his team was not the least. The scenario is unfortunately not up to the ambitions and conditions of the project and is drowning in cliches and black and white inappropriate. In the end, there is a film pretentious, and a disappointment as big as the talent of the director seems to be so messed up.

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