7 things about Elysium


1.  We would have gone regardless.  As my younger daughter says, This is a Matt Damon house.  Also, Sharlto Copley, who was wonderful as the sweet tragic naïf in District 9, here is pretty terrifying as a creepy belligerent sadist.

2.  I usually sit through a movie utterly oblivious to plot holes, but even I noticed these. Most ridiculous: that only the arrogant factory owner and the security chief (Jodi Foster, ridiculous) are invested in the system’s evil.  The president of Elysium and the Homeland Security (really) staff  talk like well-meaning mid-level functionaries at a hapless nonprofit.  In a real Elysium, the evil would be spread pretty generously – the elegant .000001 percenters would willingly collude, steely in their indifference.

3. Elysium?  The whole joint looks like Beverly Hills: clean, with broad flat green lawns and palm trees and pale unused swimming pools and weirdly empty palatial homes. The sparse population is eternally at cocktail parties in a Ralph Lauren ad. I gather the look was intentional.  But let’s face it – in a situation like that people would quickly devolve into immobile fat slobs.  And the teenagers, well, have you met a teenager? The whole setup would be part Wall-E, part  Less than Zero.

4.  The last third was so violent that it actually grew boring. Oh my heck, just get to the damn point.  We’re not impressed.

5.  The ending?  Ridiculous.  We get it; please stop hitting us about the head and neck with the frilly pillow.  It reminded me of the Simpsons parody of The Departed – a rat comes scampering along and Ralphie says, “The rat symbolizes obviousness.”

6.  Having said all that, I’m still glad I saw it.  I’m always interested in the way Matt Damon brings this quality of fundamental, tense, hard-earned decency to so many of his roles.  And I’m interested in that other trend that is starting to permeate our world – you know, the one in which the wounded and the forgotten overthrow the wicked.

7.  And I love how Neill Blomkamp invents a world, in all its grubby, mean, sordid, hostile, sweet details, so that you believe it – you feel you are living in it already.

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