(US - 2013)
Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp. Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Emma Tremblay, Faran Tahir. (R, 109 mins)
South African writer/director and Peter Jackson protégé Neill Blomkamp follows his acclaimed 2009 hit DISTRICT 9 (does anyone recall that actually getting a Best Picture Oscar nomination?) with another politically-charged sci-fi epic. ELYSIUM is definitely indicative of a Hollywood blockbuster side of Blomkamp, and the points it makes are much less subtle. But it's still an engrossing film that shows a slightly more disciplined director (the biggest flaw of DISTRICT 9 is that he never seemed to settle on shooting documentary-style or as a straight narrative) and other than one fight scene that briefly utilizes some ill-advised PS3 camera moves, it's the kind of relentlessly-paced, hard-hitting sci-fi actioner that someone like a James Cameron or a John McTiernan would've made in the 1980s. Like his mentor, Blomkamp is a director who knows how to use CGI so it doesn't draw attention to its artificiality. ELYSIUM looks great, the action is non-stop, and while its metaphors are a bit simplistic and not everything in it stands up to hard science logic, it's one of the most entertaining films of the summer.