Following his strong performance in the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra earlier this year, Damon further breaks away the nondescript action hero mould with another deeply satisfying performance. His character Max, although slightly clichéd in parts, is connectable as is his working class love interest Frey, whose main concern is the wellbeing for her critically ill daughter.
Meanwhile a delightfully prim Jodie Foster sits comfortably in her palatial paradise on Elysium, the titular space station, and the new home of Earth’s elite. Foster gives a superlative performance as the heinous Secretary of Defence Delacourt as does The Lone Ranger’s William Fichtner, although the latter is woefully under-utilized as a callous industrialist.
The A-Team’s Sharlto Copley takes the plum role of the savage villain and Copley’s accent takes many a-turning, slipping between Australian, German and American leaving you listening to a strange tonal blend as he stomps along corridors, guns toted, barking incomprehensible threats.
Director Neill Blomkamp proved his mettle in producing analytical sci-fi social commentary with 2009’s District 9 as he masterfully looked at themes of xenophobia and apartheid. Here in Elysium he turns his keen eye to the chasm between the rich and the poor; class divisions. Blomkamp’s handling of this theme is arguably a tad heavy-handed, but it certainly presents its subtext with greater subtlety and clarity than the aforementioned Lone Ranger.
Aside from some obvious symbolism and an exorbitant amount of unnecessary action, Elysium is an energetic and involving blockbuster, and the presence of an original sci-fi story at your local multiplex in a summer of flabby sequels and reboots is more than welcome.
Released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 21 August 2013.