August 5, 2013 | 11:22 pm
Posted by Joan Alperin-Schwartz
Neill Blomkamp, writer and director of critically acclaimed 'District 9', once again brings us a thought-provoking, sci-fi, fantasy, action film.
'Elysium,' starring Matt Damon, takes place in the year 2154. Earth is polluted, overpopulated and crime-ridden. The rich have long ago abandoned the planet for Elysium, an orbital space station, a 19 minute shuttle ride away.
But those 19 minutes might as well be several light years. The space station is protected by a killer security force, run by Jodie Foster, who will do anything and everything to keep Elysium safe for the wealthy.
Matt Damon plays Max — an ex-con on parole living and working in Los Angeles, which is now a getto. That's right folks, the homes of the "rich and famous" are now a thing of the past ... and I don't think Universal Studios is conducting any more tours in the city of Angels.
Max is just an ordinary guy trying to do the "right thing." He's put his days of stealing cars behind him. Now, his time is spent working at Armadyne, a corporation specializing in defense.
Important to note: The company is run by John Carlyle (the wonderful William Fichtner) a man who cares about 3 things ... Money, money and more money.
Okay, back to Max ... who winds up having an on-the-job accident. He gets a lethal dose of radiation and finds out from a robot ... seriously, a robot ... that he only has five days to live.
Max is not at all thrilled with the news and decides his only chance to survive is on Elysium.
It seems that every home on the space station not only comes equipped with a washer and dryer but also has a machine that can heal any disease in seconds. Only catch: You must be a 'citizen' of the Elysium for the machine to work.
So, since Max doesn't have the billions it costs to become a "citizen" of Elysium he has no choice but to contact some of his old criminal buddies, including ...
Spider (Wagner Moura) a very creepy dude who helps illegal immigrants get to the space station (which unfortunately doesn't always turn out too well).
He's also quite adept at turning people into Cybourgs, which comes in handy for Max, but that's all I'll say on the subject. Don't want to spoil the fun.
And "Elysium" is fun ... a lot of fun. It also has a great message and for a sci-fi film, that's rare.
Rounding out the cast is Alice Braga, who plays Frey a childhood friend of Max, who has her own reasons for wanting to get to Elysium and Sharito Copley ("District 9") who's excellent as the villaninous, Kruger, Jodie's pet operative/assassin.
I gave "Elysium," which opens in theatres Friday August 9, 2013, 4 bagels out of 5. John, however, had a different take on the film.
Check out our video for his bagel score and for more of our musings.
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