A serious and intense (and brutal at times) science-fiction film, Elysium comes with great intentions, stunning special effects and fine performances.
It is one of the last of the summer blockbusters and manages to deliver a captivating and excitingly bleak tale of ordinary folk rising against oppression.
As he did with his spectacular 2009 debut District 9, director Neill Blomkamp isn’t content to just deal with shiny spaceships, lasers and explosions, he wants his film to have a serious message amid the mayhem.
This time round, though, he is also blessed with the casting of a moody and muscular Matt Damon, who brings with him an ease in the action-man moments as well as an innate compassion and honest everyman determination to do the right thing. Okay, so his character was once a criminal, but on a now devastated planet where everyone struggles to survive he is the nearest thing to a knight on a white charger.
The film’s tough highpoint comes when Damon’s increasingly ill Max agrees to be bolted into a powerful mechanical exo-skeleton that increases his physical power and also enables him to download vital information straight into his brain.
But that information turns out to be far more valuable than first suspected, and sets the scene for a guns-blazing attempt to make the facilities of Elysium available to all.
When the special effects action kicks in Elysium is crackingly good, with Damon impressive and sympathetic as the anti-hero.
Moody and muscular: Matt Damon has an innate compassion and honest everyman determination
© 2012 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group The stars
Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura The story
In the year 2154, the world’s rich have left the planet and live on Elysium, a paradise space station high above Earth, where medical advancements can cure any illness.
Ex-con Max is exposed to a lethal amount of radiation, and with a few days to live he offers to help former criminal associate Spider steal information to get to Elysium. But he is up against a security head (Foster) and her psychotic ex-military enforcer (Copley).
* Elysium is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday, August 21 - cert 15, running time 109mins