Elysium (USA, 2013)
Directed by Neil Blomkamp
Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga
This is the 150th Review I have written since launching Mumby at the Movies.
In my review of Source Code, I talked about the perils associated with new film-makers being offered bigger budgets after their first film had been a hit. So often the appeal of more money, or even the simple act of going to Hollywood, can undo a young director's principles, turning intelligence into drudgery and discipline into indulgence.
Blade Runner, and both films are interested in mankind's negative impact of the environment. But while Blade Runner looks at this stylistically, drawing on the conventions of film noir, Elysium is much more rough and gritty, set primarily in harsh daylight and with most of the conflict taking place outdoors.
Prometheus stealing fire from the gods in the Greek myths. The design of Elysium itself resembles a pentangle, and the lifestyles of its inhabitants is lavish, like the pursuits the Greek gods supposedly enjoyed.
Aliens, while the design of Elysium is dangerously close to the space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kruger's search droids are eerily similar to the probes in The Empire Strikes Back, and there's even one very clunky nod to Star Wars, with an image of the Death Star being on clear view in one scene.
Robin Hood, but she makes up for this in her icy screen presence. As for Sharlto Copley, he gives a fun performance in spite of his character; it's a lazy 1980s trope to make South Africans the bad guys, but he's such an enjoyable ham that it doesn't seem to matter.
I caught Elysium at the Tyneside Cinema during a holiday. Click here to find out why it's my all-time favourite cinema.
NEXT REVIEW: Looper (2012)