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You’ve heard the old axiom, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” In director Neill Blomkamp’s futuristic thriller, the grass looks MUCH greener on the floating paradise of Elysium. But when you are a blue-collar grunt like Max (Matt Damon), securing a ticket to the exclusive kingdom of Elysium proves difficult… even life threatening.
Blomkamp helmed the cult classic District 9, and returns to sci-fi this weekend with Elysium. One scene in particular struck us for its beauty, and its terror. Let’s dissect it below.
Unlike rival science fiction stories playing out this year – from Oblivion to After Earth – Elysium doesn’t fill its screens with expansive, jaw-dropping celestial imagery. Blomkamp, as he did with District 9, fights to ground his futuristic story in an earthbound tone, picking and choosing his moments to blow out his vision and remind us this movie takes place in a fantastical environment.
And that happens when a spaceship transporting Matt Damon’s antihero crash-lands on the Eden known as Elysium.
The story is set in a distant future when our planet has become too polluted, and the richest citizens have left. They now reside in the virtual paradise of Elysium, a massive satellite orbiting the Earth. And the sick, poor citizens of our planet dream of getting up to Elysium, where healthcare is instantaneous and life – it seems – is easier.
As the movie progresses, Max (Damon) figures a way to secure transport to Elysium. It involves a hand grenade, which causes major problems when Max is attacked by the bounty hunter Kruger (Sharlto Copley), causing the bomb to go off.
Dropping out his sound and letting the silence of outer space envelope us, Blomkamp stages a breathtakingly violent crash scene, with Damon’s ship decimating the serene environments of Elysium. It’s a stunning dichotomy of imagery that reminds us of the scale and scope of Elysium. And it’s the one scene in Blomkamp’s movie that absolutely needs to be seen on the big screen.
What are critics saying about Blomkamp’s latest thriller?
What Critics Are Saying:
“Elysium is a sporadically engaging tale, as well as a potent commentary on immigration and health care policies.”
- Claudia Puig, USA Today
“Elysium confirms the talent - for razory mayhem and shocking satire, for the crazed spectacle of future decay - that Blomkamp showcased in his amazing first feature, District 9.”
- Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
“Elysium revs you up, and on its own dumb terms it delivers. But it's less fun when Blomkamp blows something up than when he sends it up.”
- David Edelstein, NPR