It’s the late 21st century on a polluted and run down over-populated Earth, a young boy named Max (Maxwell Perry Cotton) befriends a young girl named Frey (Valentina Giron) and they instantly become best friends. The wealthy have fled the planet for a better life on a space station called Elysium. Visible from Earth the impoverished citizen’s dream of one day living on Elysium known for the life that Earth once supported.
Years later in 2154, Max (Matt Damon) now an adult is working for John Carlyle (William Fichtner) in the radiation department at a manufacture plant. There was a time when Max worked for Spider (Wagner Moura) as part of a resistance against the government in control of Elysium. When Max gets a broken arm and ends up in the hospital he discovers that Frey (Alice Braga) is back in town and fulfilled her dream of becoming a nurse as well as a mother to daughter Matilda (Emma Tremblay) who happens to be in the final stages of Leukemia.
When Max returns to work he accidently gets trapped in the radiation room ultimately living but with a death sentence looking over him in five days. Eager to live he negotiates a deal with Spider to shuttle him to Elysium to save his life. One problem, even though Elysium has med beds that would instantly save his life he is not a citizen and would not be allowed on the space station. For fact of the matter by order of Defense Secretary Sara Delacourt (Jodi Foster) no people from Earth are allowed and would either be killed or deported back to Earth if they even tried to enter Elysium. Although a deal is made for Max and his friend Julio (Diego Luna) to receive one way tickets to Elysium if Max will do one big final job for Spider. John Carlyle has the keys to the kingdom in his brain and Spider needs Max to retrieve the data. Fitted with a suit attached to his nervous system, given pills to help him survive for the meantime and Max is in on the deal to get the job done.
Max is in a race against time, running from a special agent on Earth named Kruger (Sharlto Copley) who is out to capture Max for Defense Secretary Delacourt, or so she thinks! Along with his need to protect Frey and her daughter from harm, Max who now holds in his head all of the knowledge that John Carlyle once had makes him a valuable commodity not only to Delacourt who is out to overthrow President Patel (Faran Tahir) but Spider as well who is out to open Elysium to the world above and below the clouds. Overall in the end, Max had to make decisions that would change the final outcome that little Max once dreamed of for F + M.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and the concept of it but found a few small holes in the story or at least some moments that I think would have made better sense than what was filmed. The direction was well done but at times I felt like Blomkamp spent more time on the direction than on the story. Visually the film is brilliant from a pristine Elysium right down to a destructed planet Earth in particular Los Angeles. Albeit the film shows the interaction of people on Earth but very little interaction of civilian’s on Elysium other than government officials. A great score along with some superb special effects, chases, explosions, fight scenes and robotics help to keep the film interesting since at times it slightly may have lost its way from a good story line becoming a great one. A little more time spent in character development and this film would have definitely achieved a longer life span upon its release.
Damon is superb in this role as a buff, tattooed ex criminal trying to straighten his life out. At times I felt like I was watching a space aged Jason Bourne since this character to me has some similarities. I am a huge fan of Foster and although she plays a stiff upper lipped government official playing a bad girl doesn’t seem to suit her in this way. She looks phenomenal and as always does a wonderful job but at times it seemed her accent tended to fade in and out and her actions were almost too robotic. Copley who plays a special agent has a much larger role than I thought even after death but pulls it off whether ugly or handsome. Braga is a major character throughout the entire film could have been spared some bigger lines but for what she’s been given she performed this role well. As for the rest of the supporting cast they all brought this story to life and were given some good development sometimes better than the leads to pull the story along right down to good guy bad guy character played by a very convincing Moura. In the end I was fully entertained even if left wanting just a little bit more. Written and enjoyed especially for its visual effects with three paws out of four by Jon Patch.