Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Just saw Elysium in what I think was full IMAX at the O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome). Stepping inside this monolithic temple to entertainment is a truly surreal experience somewhat akin to entering Elysium itself. South African Neill Blomkamp's new film, about a man desperate to get to the offworld paradise of the super-rich in order to heal himself of a lethal dose of radiation poisoning, is a grand sci-fi spectacle heavily indebted to both Mad Max and Aliens and starts off, at least, as an intriguing social parable which clearly aims to draw parallels with today's gulf between rich and poor. It's intelligent and interesting - and then, about halfway through, it turns into a completely different movie which is primarily stuff blowing up. There's a ludicrous overuse of shakycam, so much so that during many of the action sequences it's actually hard to tell what is going on. None of the characters is particularly likeable or memorable and it's hard to care about any of them. Sharlto Copley's preposterously over-the-top, psychotic supervillain Kruger gets all the best lines, but half of them are incomprehensible, so thick is his Boer accent. Another pivotal character has exactly the same problem except with a South American accent. Taken simply as a sci-fi spectacle it's awesome and is definitely worth seeing, but it's not nearly so incisive or intelligent a social critique as its director obviously thinks it is. On the strength of this showing, Blomkamp shows promise, but definitely has some way to go. One thumb up.

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