September 16, 2013

Elysium: a half-baked film review



Enjoying a Hollywood blockbuster today requires a temporary suspension of disbelief.   But to enjoy Elysium however, you must switch off all capacity to reason as well.   An Afghani freeway has less holes than this plot.

The film is written and directed by South African Neill Blomkamp and it does have an interesting premise: in 2154, the super wealthy live on a space station called Elysium that orbits the Earth, at a safe distance from the polluted and overcrowded planet below.

Elysium is full of super-real special effects, just like every other blockbuster.   And there unfortunately, is where my praise ends.

Sadly not even leading roles by Matt Damon and Jodie Foster save this terrible film.   Foster serves up the most boring lines of her long and respected career, playing a one-dimensional, megalomaniac security chief named Delacourt.

Other recent successful blockbusters like Ironman, are full of crisp one-liners to entertain those who enjoy more than blood, guts and fast-moving scenes.  But the dialogue in Elysium sounds like it was written by a 14 year-old for other teenagers.   An agent sent to hunt down Matt Damon’s character for example, repeats the same line ‘Now that’s what I’m talking about!’ on three cringing occasions.  It might have been amusing circa 1997, but today I just felt cheated.

A division of labour normally exists between writer and director.  The former can focus on making the story plausible, while the latter concentrates on getting the best from their cast and crew.   Neill Blomkamp should stick to directing and leave the writing to a professional, or at least a clever teenager.

All in all, Elysium is a film best suited to telly when you’re hungover and looking to kill some time on a lazy Sunday afternoon.