Matt Adcock’s film review: Smart and gritty Elysium is a mission with a message

The near future wants a word with you. In the year 2154, the wealthy will have mostly left earth to live in complete luxury on a man-made super space station while the rest of the population starve on a ruined planet below.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 26th August 2013, 5:15 am

But even though things are incredibly bleak down here, there may just be one man who can make a difference, one man who will fight for the abandoned people of earth and maybe, just maybe, change the balance of power forever…

Step forward Max (Matt Damon) – he’s a bit of a loose cannon, he has a long criminal record, but he’s also an idealist, and he’s in love, which could be a dangerous combination.

One day Max is working away in the factory where combat/security cyborgs are created when he gets locked into a decontamination chamber and given a lethal dose of radiation.


The clock is ticking and he has just five days to try and make good on his childhood promise to his beloved Frey (Alice ‘Predators’ Bragga) that he will get her to the safe haven circling the planet, which goes by the name of Elysium.

Max gets himself tooled up with a mech-like exoskeleton and is promised a free pass to the fabled space station if he can kidnap a corporate bigwig and download the guy’s brain info.

Easy, right? Well, while getting hold of the brain only means taking down the bigwig’s robot bodyguards it seems that what he has hidden in his noggin is of upmost importance to Elysium security enforcer Delacourt (Jodie Foster).

It’s fair to say that she’s not a people person. She shoots down transport shuttles full of innocent families just for trying to get to Elysium.

And she has a secret weapon in the form of a super soldier named Kruger – Sharlto Copley, who sci-fi fans will not need telling played the hero in director Neill Blomkamp’s last film, the much-praised District 9, and has masses of fun as this kick ass villain.

Cue gunfights, desperate plans and a fantastic showdown between Max and an equally exoskeleton-enhanced Kruger which has to be one of the one-on-one big screen battles of the year.

It’s good to see cutting edge special effects used sparingly and to really enhance and improve this off world tale, boosting the viewing experience.

Elysium is a smart, gritty sci-fi movie that delivers a decent thrill ride and carries a good moral message at heart, too. Recommended.