November 30, 2013
Elysium (Neill Blomkamp, 2013). As allegory it’s obvious: 140 years in the future, the borders between Mexico and the United States or North Africa and Italy are now between Earth and a space station. Earth is a refugee camp or endless, brown-skied shantytown, filmed on the outskirts of Mexico City. The space station Elysium is a gated community in the sky. An earlier idea – with Eminem in the Matt Damon part, filmed in Detroit – would have been less generic at least. District 9’s satirical humour has evaporated; instead, Blomkamp gives you 10 or so minutes of thoughtful scene-setting and more than an hour of dull action. As Elysium’s overlord, Jodie Foster is being Helen Mirren. Also, is there a thesis to be written about the recurrence of the Hispanic solo mother as an unquestionably good character?