Seeking out the

5000 greatest films

in a century of cinema


Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Produced by Simon Kinberg
Written by Neill Blomkamp
With: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, and William Fichtner
Cinematography: Trent Opaloch
Editing: Lee Smith and Julian Clarke
Music: Ryan Amon
Runtime: 109 min
Release Date: 09 August 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp follows up his conceptually impressive but ultimately unsatisfying 2009 début feature, District 9, with this similar, though far less original, sci-fi film about haves and have-nots living in a dystopian future. The film’s strong premise, in which the well-healed live forever in a beautiful orbiting Eden called Elysium while the 99 percent scratch out an existence on the ruined Earth below, could have yielded a compelling entertainment. But the real disparity on display in Elysium is between the wealth of its potential and the poverty of its execution.  Blomkamp’s spends far too little time developing the sequences that could really pull an audience into his cinematic world and far too much time on absurd dialogue scenes and boring smash-'em-up fights and chases.  His actors play conventions rather than characters, and his potentially fascinating environments never develop into anything more than the computer-generated fly-overs we see at the beginning.  This is one of those contemporary films that gets me up on my high horse about how much better genre movie use to be.  A film like John Carpenter’s 1981 Escape From New York may look absurdly primitive to today’s moviegoers, but, come on; who would you rather be trapped with on an nearly-impossible futuristic suicide mission--Snake Plissken or whatever the hell Matt Damon’s character’s name is in this forgettable movie?