STORY: Set in 2154, the film gives us a grim view of the future, where the poor live on an over-populated, ruined earth, the rich on a luxurious space station. Can one man bring about a change? REVIEW: Mutants, superheroes, aliens, gadgets…while Hollywood fancies fiction that’s more escapist, Neill Blomkamp, in his inimitable style, gives us a dark science fiction thriller that’s relevant to present-day society and existing social and economic inequality. Blomkamp’s splendid vision merges facts and fiction to give us a grim view of the future (the year is 2154), when earth is over-populated and ruined. The gap between rich and poor couldn’t be more evident. With crime and the disease rate on a high, the planet is no longer fit for human habitation. The rich relocate to a man-made space station ‘Elysium’, which exclusively offers them luxury and high-tech medical facilities.
In order to preserve their lifestyle, immortality and longevity, they ensure that the poor gain no access to Elysium. Max ( Matt Damon), an ordinary factory worker, gets exposed to a severe dose of radiation that can only be cured on Elysium. He has five days to live. Can he get there? No matter how gripping, Elysium is no match for Blomkamp’s hard-hitting ‘District 9’. Scenes of the protagonist Max running around, trying to get help from the thugs featured here, become repetitive. The villains (Jodie Foster as Elysium’s cold and conniving protector and Sharlto Copley as a sleeper agent) are onedimensional. However, what works in the film’s favour is the director’s satirical intent. There’s a scene where a factory owner asks his employee to cover his mouth while talking. Fearing he might catch an infection, he orders, “Don’t breathe on me.” It’s this acute portrayal of the mindset of the ‘heartless rich’ that grips you. The premise is thought-provoking with the whole ‘degradation of human life’ theme deeply affecting your psyche. Aerial shots of over-populated earth might even remind you of Mumbai. Elysium is like a warning of a disturbing future that we can all see coming.