peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2013 08 21 Elysium

Elysium (2013)

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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.