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Los Angeles shows its 22nd century age in ‘Elysium’.


There’s a stark and revolutionary allegory about privilege, capitalism, immigration, and even access to healthcare inside Neill Blomkamp’s new dystopian sci-fi actioner Elysium. Though it gets a little lost around the time Matt Damon gets a metal exo-skeleton riveted to him (two words: bone saw), this is still heady stuff for an escapist summer thriller.

My review ran in PopMatters; here’s part:

The year is 2154 and everybody still living on earth is having a miserable time. The Los Angeles where paroled car thief Max (Matt Damon) ekes out a living as a robot-making factory worker looks like a congested favela. Instead of the dark alleyways and cloud-piercing skyscrapers of many dystopic noirs, this city is familiar to anybody who’s spent time in chaotic megacities like Lagos, Cairo or Mexico City, where Blomkamp shot much of his film. The onetime infrastructure is decimated, with overwhelmed social services, no civic government to speak of, randomly authoritarian robot-police, and a relentlessly hand-to-mouth existence. It’s ripe for revolt…

Check out the trailer here: