MV5BNDc2NjU0MTcwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjg4MDg2OQ@@._V1_SX214_Astonished to realise that I watched this film on August Bank Holiday which is some 3 months ago tomorrow. Where does the time go? I very much enjoyed District 9 (which I reviewed here) and was keen to see how Neil Blomkamp would follow what everyone I knew who saw it considered to be a really remarkable film.

What we have is Elysium, a dystopia set in the 22nd century, partly amongst the poor and largely disenfranchised on Earth and partly on the titular orbiting luxury mini-world where the rich, privileged and powerful live, controlling what happens back home without getting their hands dirty. One of the benefits they have is medical provision which can deal with almost everything and this is partly what drives the plot as such, with a couple of the characters including our hero Matt Damon needing to get up there to sort their health issues out, in his case dying from accidental exposure to huge amounts of radiation. But of course it’s about toe much more than that; industrial shenanigans, what the privileged will do to protect themselves, what those on Earth will do to access what they have been excluded from, political power and what can happen when the unorthodox means of oppression get out of control. Which all sounds a bit heavy when you write it down but although this is in many ways a grim film it is also very much a sic-fi auctioneer which delivers some great set pieces.

I have started to pay much more attention to the experience of going to the movies when considering the impact of any film. As I said, on this occasion it was the Bank Holiday, quite warm and we saw Elysium at the IMAX on London’s South Bank followed by a rather nice dinner at Skylon looking out over the Thames as darkness fell. You may wonder what all that has to do with my reaction to the film, but given this is about the privileged vs those who don’t have access to their advantages, being a person who didn’t really have to think about the price of tickets and who could splash out on a very nice posh meal gives an interesting perspective. I would like to think that I would not go down the route of Jodie Foster and her cronies, doing everything I could to protect my position, but it led to an interesting discussion.

In terms of the movie, as others have said elsewhere it isn’t the triumph that District 9 was but it was a really good sic-fi film, with excellent performances by Matt Damon and in particular Sharlto Copley who managed to be very funny while in the middle of some extremely gruesome events. I’ve said elsewhere that I increasingly admire Matt Damon and was pleased to see him do something different (as I tend to think of him as a pure hero rather than the damaged goods he is here). Some of the plot is a bit soap-opera-y but not excessively so, and the world building pretty solid.

The only odd thing for me was Jodie Foster, whose accent is a bit odd. I was aware of that before going into the film but I think I would have noticed it in any event. She was also bit of a cartoon villain in places with a nice line in both executive suiting and scenery-chewing, but not to the extent that it spoiled the movie.

The question is whether my liking for Mr Damon will led me back to the Bourne films, a franchise which my brother keeps on telling me I should give another shot, despite my feeling that the first one was cold and uninvolving. Though I did just miss Damon dashing through Waterloo station while filming the third one on my way into work one morning. Anyway, that’s a decision for another day.

Give Elysium a go; I liked it.

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