So-so science fiction drama

Elysium Columbia Rating: 14A 109 minutes

Four years ago South African/Canadian writer/director Neill Blomkamp scored a hit with District 9, a better than average science fiction film about aliens in South Africa that commented on the historic racist situation there.

His second feature, science fiction again, at the beginning at least, comments on the increasing disparity between the rich and poor. Set in 2154, the rich live in comfort and beauty on a fantastic space station named Elysium. It can be seen from Earth where most people live in squalor and poverty.

Matt Damon plays a resident of Los Angeles, now a huge slum. He works in a factory making robots and one day is exposed to a deadly dose of radiation. Desperate, he takes on a mission to get himself to Elysium where amazing machines can cure any medical problem and save his life. His mission involves a morbid operation and stealing the contents of the brain of one of the favoured few.

Jodie Foster plays the ice-cool secretary of defense of Elysium who wants take over and prevent interlopers like Damon from arriving. She is helped by a dangerous hitman (Sharlto Copley, the main character in District 9).

The movie starts well and some of the effects are very impressive; there’s a lot of imagination shown here. Blomkamp’s direction is solid, but his writing skills are not. The plot wanders and while Damon does okay with an underwritten character, his love interest (Alice Braga) is weak.

Rating: three deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.

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