There is no doubting the talent of Neill Blomkamp. While devotees of his work may well point to the five short films he created between 2004 and 2008, most cinema-goers will remember him as “the bloke that made District 9” – a hard-hitting sci-fi movie that really announced Mr Blomkamp onto the scene. Drawing heavily from the struggles of his country, District 9 pulled no punches, while also gripping its audience with some of the most original science fiction seen at the cinema for a while. It’s been a long four years to experience Mr Blomkamp’s latest foray into the world of science fiction.
And it was definitely worth the wait. We are once again drawn into the world of the “haves” and “have-nots”, Elysium being a creation of beauty – neo-classical architecture juxtaposed with future-world technology, hanging in the heavens as a beacon of ascension for those existing in the squalor of earth. Reminiscent of the space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey, we are accepting of this off-world domicile for humanity’s privileged few; rotating to create the gravity needed for normality and not really questioning the way in which it creates its own breathable atmosphere in the vacuum of space. This is the mark of intelligent narrative construction. The filmmaker feels no need to provide some clunky exposition of the “hows” and “whys” of this integral part of his world – it’s set far enough in the future so we, the audience, have the intelligence to assume some boffins have invented/ designed/ built this thing and we can get on with the narrative progression.
The stand-out performance for me is Sharlto Copley, convincingly bringing the malevolence in his pursuit of mission success. It is also a pleasure to see Jodie Foster back on the big screen and clearly relishing the political machinations her character is at pains to employ. And, quite frankly, who doesn’t like Matt Damon? The diversity of the roles he plays clearly knows no bounds. As far as I’m concerned, he is fast reaching the stage where I’ll go and see him in anything – a feat currently being achieved only by Messrs. Hanks and Cruise! Once again, Neill Blomkamp has delivered a wonderful piece of original science fiction and I urge you, dear follower, to witness it on the big screen.