Jason Walstrom’s review published on Letterboxd :
Am I a sucker for Sci-Fi? Yes. Am I a sucker for awesome action scenes with futuristic weapons of destruction? Yes. Am I a sucker for a film that makes me feel something, makes me think long after the film is over? Yes, yes, all of the above.
Elysium, much like District 9, does a fantastic job world building in the opening minutes, we are immersed in a shitty world that looks up to the beautiful Elysium in the sky. Elysium is a giant space station world where all of the planet earth's rich and powerful have gone to live, abandoning the lowly people on earth where the Robots 'Droid's keep things in line with Droid cops and even social workers, it's a really cool touch calling them droids making me immediately think of Star Wars. Did they have to get special permission? No idea.
Matt Damon plays Max, an ex-con who is trying to live on the straight and narrow working a shitty robot factory job where they don't give a flying shit about your safety, as Max walks to and from work he has to deal with other criminals giving him a hard time about working for a living and local children trying to get loose change from his pockets. Worst of all of these things are the local droid cops that harass with no conscience, no sense of humor, they make snap judgments and you have to live with their verdict. I can see how this would make me an angry citizen but what could you do about such things? Nothing much.
We get to see glimpses of Max's orphanage childhood throughout the film showing us that he is a feeling human, someone who made a promise to someone that means a lot to him a long time ago, a promise to get them to Elysium. A pipe dream, I have a feeling it's something that he couldn't get past. You are told very young that only powerful people live on Elysium, 'It's no place for us' they say. Why as a child would you accept that? Max doesn't and he never will.
The film does a great job showing how Max motivates himself, he tells himself "I'm not going to die" and he follows that command as if it's how he's gotten by in this shitty world his entire life.
When a terrible accident puts a death sentence on Max his motivation for getting to Elysium is now of the utmost importance. Cut to life on Elysium we have Delacourt played by Jodie Foster who protects the citizens of Elysium from the nasty denizens of Earth who try to land to gain access to their instant healing and disease curing facilities that are only for the inhabitants of Elysium and they do not want to share with the Earth trash.
After Delacourt activates the sleeper agent played by the fantastic Sharlto Copley's character of Kruger, she get's in trouble with the president for her violent and non protocol following actions. Delacourt has decided it's time to change leadership on Elysium by staging a coup with the help of William Fichtner's John Carlyle (who happens to be Max's boss!) by doing a complete program re-write of the advanced computer programmed world.
When Max goes to his old criminal co-hort Spider, he demands to be smuggled to Elysium so he can gain access to their healing facilities. Spider will help him but only if he does a job for him, steal important information from some rich guy's noggin namely the same John Carlyle that is carrying the newly created worm that will perform the coup for Delacourt. What follows is an incredible display of flawless special effects and tension that I immensely enjoyed.
Neil Blomkamp has made a sci-fi film that feels possible with an array of technology that feels real but is worn and old and dirty and been used for years, it's a lived-in world that is scuzzy and you understand why everyone wants to get to Elysium, either to save their sick children, relatives or to live in a place that contains hope.
I could get into what I think some people will say reacting to the fact the Blomkamp has something to say about a real life class warfare struggling with healthcare etc, but I won't, all I say is that, the film made me think about those things and maybe that's all he wants you to do.
I enjoyed Elysium, in fact I can't wait to own it and place it next to the Oblivion Blu Ray on my shelf (No, they aren't alphabetized) and enjoy a night of Sci-fi goodness because this film just like Oblivion makes me excited for film, for sci-fi, how many films do we see all year that is just a film that exists to entertain but has nothing to say, but at the same time entertain you with spectacular effects and breathtaking visuals, that's Elysium.