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Richard Roeper Blog

REVIEW: “Elysium”

I’m Richard Roeper and coming up next, Matt Damon will do anything to save his life and Jodie Foster will do anything to preserve her way of life. My review of “Elysium,” next.

The Summer of Futuristic Doom continues with “Elysium,” written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, who showed such great promise with the claptrap minor classic “District 9.” It’s terrific entertainment, even though it does feature one of the worst performances every given by a multiple Oscar winner.

Earth has become a vast wasteland of pollution and corruption, with the .001 percent having fled to a Utopian space station that hovers above the planet like a second, heavenly, taunting moon.

Meanwhile, Earth is essentially a slave colony, run by heartless bureaucrats from Elysium that occasionally visit the filthy planet, which is monitored by droid police.

Matt Damon’s as good as anyone’s ever been at playing the anti-hero, and he’s true to form as our guy here, who gets knocked down again and again but keeps getting up.

After Max is exposed to a dose of radiation that will kill him in five days, he agrees to take on a seemingly impossible mission that will take him up to Elysium and those magical machines that can cure anything.

Which brings us to Foster’s Defense Secretary Delacourt. I don’t what Foster was going for here, but she has a ridiculous accent and a wooden way with the dialogue. It’s so bad it’s oddly compelling.

If you thought “District 9” was a thinly veiled allegory about apartheid, “Elysium” is a thinly veiled allegory about nearly every environmental, political and social issue imaginable. Subtlety isn’t on the menu.

There are a lot of unanswered questions and more than a few missed opportunities. I would have liked to see much more about life on Elysium. But we get some brutally effective action sequences, a few genuinely touching moments and some badass special effects.

This is one of the better action films of the year. I give “Elysium” an A-.

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