ARTYFACTS: Elysium – hell on earth, heaven above

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Elysium – hell on earth, heaven above

End of the 21st century and we’ve creted hell on earth and heaven on a satellite in space (Elysium). Smart idea that chimes with current unequal times, and fears of over-population and immigration, of a future where the rich leave an overpopulated earth with no healthcare to create an Eden in space, although it looks suspiciously like an American middle-calls Eden , with perfect lawns, swimming pools and, curiously, tennis courts. It’s a clever view of a dystopian future that makes it accessible politically – Marxism in space.
Blomfeld saves the day by having some nice touches, the South African mercenaries and Spider, the ganglord hacker. I also liked Jodie Foster’s menace - in an oligarchy, you still have to watch out for other oligarchs. Matt Damon also does the business, although it’s becoming tiresome to see having a British accent and speaking French associated with being evil.
Other smart features are the robots, surveillance and drones. Inevitably, however, it turns into a gunfest. This is a shame, as the best sci-fi, Blade Runner and Aliens, used to be sparing with this guff. Hollywood struggles to make a movie without guns these days – it’s so damn infantile and predictable. District 9 was fresh because it broke the rules; this movie plays by the rules. It needed to be messier, with more surprises.
This is a cut above most sci-fi movies, and most recent Hollywood movies for that matter. It’s no classic but it’s not far off. This Director, Neill Blomkamp, has a talent, which if unfettered by Hollywood pressure, could turn up a real classic one day


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