Matt Damon's Elysium Movie Review....
Matt Damon’s Elysium Movie Review…
Elysium is basically a political conflict about ‘the haves and the have nots’ played out in the not too distant future; apparently, in said future, the rich, mostly living off the revenues of the uba corporations, will abandon earth and set up a space-like heavenly station where one can virtually live forever and isolated from the dregs of society - thus, the movie’s title, Elysium. Below on earth, little boys and girls are always gazing up with dreams of grandeur to secure a passage someday to Elysium, akin to how immigrants like I… along with my South of the borders brethrens, felt about coming to America. Matt Damon is one these kids, who was raised in an orphanage all his life and had thoughts of improving his lot in life by becoming a citizen of the heavenly cornucopia… so much so that the young Damon character was engaged in petty thefts to fund this Utopian dream.
The grown up Damon’s character has put his petty crime days behind him on account that he is on Probation… he has even secured gainful employment in a factory that is a glorified sweat shop, only that he is not making clothing, but making parts. One sees in Elysium how much civil life has deteriorated when the police wield almost dictatorial power manifested in the fact that jesting can result in a serious beat down. This sweat-shop like milieu is apparent when Damon’s character gets trapped and is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, where, afterwards, he is given a bottle of pills to palliate his certain demise in five or so days… of course, the Damon character can be cured - but alas, he is poor and he does not have access to the cure located on the faraway Elysium….
The protector of Elysium and the wealthy is Jodie Foster - she is supposedly the ‘bad guy’ who has a buffoonish mercenary doing her bloodletting. Foster’s character is so mean that she has no qualms in shooting down ferries filled with earthly citizens, including children, who are desperately trying to reach Elysium. These treks are provided by crime lords and are akin to the Coyotes who bring Mexican immigrants across our borders… and just how the coyotes prey upon the South of the border Immigrants… so too the crime lords do the citizens yearning to go to Elysium.
I went to see this movie because of the director, Neill Blomkamp, great work in District Nine - but Elysium is no such movie. Yes, Matt Damon plays his role well as the reluctant anti hero… but the Jody Foster’s role is wasted. I wished I knew Foster character’s back story - what motivated her to where she is so cavalier in killing children who are simply trying to seek a better life on Elysium? Even Foster character’s henchman is played in an over the top, Cartoonish fashion, and who, in addition, is an apparent rapist and killer of babies… who has no back story to show why the penchant for wanton violence.
I wished too that one of the mega, wicked corporation’s owners in Elysium - think of how some Liberals feel about Wal-mart - played by William Fichtner, was the antagonist because he is such an excellent actor, even in brief roles. There is a scene in Elysium where Fichtner’s character… who is already smarting over living among the dregs – think of a slum landlord forced to live among his bereft tenants - is investigating an accident at his plant and he is receiving a report from his foreman, the latter who is too close to Fincher when conveying the details about the accident. Fincher in utter disdain in tandem with his facials expression asked his foreman:”why are you breathing on me?”
As you can glean, Elysium is the first movie I have reviewed in this forum where I was not moved to rave about it… mainly because it does not have a ‘bad guy’ of note that has any ‘panache’… as John Malcovich said in the Clint Eastwood classic thriller movie, In The Line of Fire. Elysium seems like it was a politically driven movie that was not too subtle in speaking on our current Immigration debate and just like how the debate here is one sided without giving the other side its due... I wished I knew, other than the apparent greed, the motivation from the wealthy for not spreading the largesse when there is/was plenty to be had. I am going to chalk it up and venture a guess by saying that knowing Mr. Damon’s politics, Elysium was a vanity project.