Friday, August 9, 2013

In 'Elysium,' Earth Is the Worst Kind of Hellhole

HOW civilized, Yours Truly, is thinking as I fairly settle into my comfortable seat after sitting through “Elysium” for about 15 minutes. Here is what a body has been craving all summer: A thoughtful action film.

Those two words – thoughtful and action – don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, Better Judgment asserts. Here is Jodie Foster. JODIE FOSTER. Here, too, is Matt Damon, a thinking person’s action film star – this is Jason Bourne, after all; not a Steven Seagal, Wesley Snipes or Vin Diesel for instance. That was the thinking 15 minutes in; in time, however, came a seachange as startling as a tidal wave.

MD stars as the protagonist in this latest comment on immigration and divided societies from director, writer, producer Neill Blomkamp. The film opens in North America today.

“Elysium” presents another snapshot of the minority Haves and the majority Havenots, much as it does in NB’s Oscar-nominated “District 9.” Being a South African, NB knows a thing or three about this dynamic.

MD is one of the many Havenots who must make due on Earth. The planet is a poor, filthy, ravaged eyesore. It looks very much like warzone Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Dickensian Great Britain. Virtually nothing works well on Earth. Food is scarce, housing is an outrage; healthcare is atrocious. ATROCIOUS.

NB has said in no uncertain terms that “Elysium” is about now, not a distant future. And so it is, as MD’s Max Da Costa and other Earthlings try to navigate their way through a low-wage, dead-end, unsafe-job existence. Myriad metaphors mingle in this movie.

"Elysium" is rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout; visit to learn more about the film.

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