peteg's blog

Elysium

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At the 9:30pm session at the Hoyts at Eastgardens. The ride down and back was freezing. The port looks fantastical from the roof the building (the uppermost carpark), just like the set of a James Cameron classic. There were about ten people in a theatre with seating for something like 300. That was approximately nine more than I expected.

This is something of a followup to District 9 in director Neill Blomkamp's distinctive style. I found it strange that he set this story in L.A., something like 150 years hence, given that the city looked just like the present-day slums of anywhere. It is, of course, quite graphically violent, and I hadn't seen that much blood dripping from extremities since the Wallabies last played the 'Boks in Pretoria. Thematically it's all a bit Matrix (read Biblical) with an admixture of Terrence Malick for the dreamy bits: a saviour clearly needs to sacrifice himself for the greater good of dirt poor humanity. The politics is a bit confused, with salvation being something magical, cataclysmic, external, and not something to work towards. Elysium's refugee policy just might be the endpoint of Australia's. Some excellent work from Sharlto Copley, who clearly immensely enjoys working with Blomkamp, and Matt Damon was quite good too. My only real complaint was the jerky camerawork and spaghetti action scenes, which spoilt some excellent sets.

Anthony Lane. Dana Stevens. Manohla Dargis.

Kazuo Ishiguro: When We Were Orphans

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Another Ishiguro from the UNSW Library. There is something of Great Expectations here; an invocation of the British Empire, stymied lives, vocationalism, living for others, and so forth. The author is a master of structure, effortlessly gliding amongst time and place while avoiding that of which he does not wish to speak. For instance, in a move that prefigures Never Let Me Go, he creates parental characters that never clash with the adolescent narrator due to the central mystery, which effects the transfer of the narrator to the mother country, where much of the narration occurs.

I found the suspense here used to good effect, with the elisions of fact sharpening and not distracting from the climax. It left me with less to think about than Never Let Me Go however.