Elysium is a 2013 American dystopian science fiction action thriller film written, directed, and co-produced by Neill Blomkamp, and starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. It was released on August 9, 2013, in both conventional and IMAX Digital theaters. Elysium is a co-production of Media Rights Capital and TriStar Pictures.
The film takes place on both a ravaged Earth, and a luxurious space habitat called Elysium. It explores political and sociological themes such as immigration, overpopulation, health care, exploitation, the justice system, and class issues.
In 2154, a small number of people reside on a luxurious space habitat called Elysium and the vast majority on an overpopulated and devastated Earth. While those on Earth are policed by ruthless robots, Elysium’s citizens live in absolute comfort and regularly use medical devices called Med-Bays to cure any disease and injury.
Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), a former car thief, and now a parolee, lives in the ruins of Los Angeles and works at an assembly line for Armadyne Corp, a company which supplies Elysian weaponry as well as the robots which police Earth. After being accidentally lethally poisoned by radiation, Max has only five days to live and seeks help from a smuggler named Spider (Wagner Moura) to get him to Elysium, since his only chance for survival is using a Med-Bay. Meanwhile, when a caravan of illegal immigrants from Earth attempts to reach Elysium and its Med-Bays, Elysian Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster) orders a sleeper agent, Kruger (Sharlto Copley), to shoot down the shuttles. Elysian President Patel (Faran Tahir) reprimands her and dismisses Kruger from service. Delacourt, vowing to protect Elysium and her own power, bargains with Armadyne CEO John Carlyle (William Fichtner) to create a program that can override Elysium’s computer core to give her the Presidency. Carlyle neurally stores the program for transport to Elysium and encrypts it with a lethal denial system.
Spider agrees to get Max to Elysium if he steals financial information from Carlyle. To assist him, Spider’s doctors surgically attach a powered exoskeleton to Max. Max, Julio (Diego Luna) and a team of Spider’s men intercept Carlyle’s ship, and Max downloads the program to his suit’s neural implant, but realizes that the encryption makes it unusable. Delacourt secretly deploys Kruger to recover the program. In the ensuing firefight, Carlyle and most of Max’s allies are killed, while Max himself is wounded. He heads to the house of his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga), whose daughter Matilda has leukemia. Frey begs Max to take Matilda to Elysium so that she can be cured, but Max refuses in order to protect them. Kruger takes Frey and Matilda prisoner aboard his ship, while his drones hunt for Max. Delacourt orders an airspace lockdown over Los Angeles to buy enough time to recover Carlyle’s program.
Max delivers the program to Spider, who discovers that the program can be used to make all Earth residents Elysian citizens. However, because the lockdown makes it impossible to leave Earth, Max bargains with Kruger to be taken to Elysium, not knowing that Kruger has already found out that Frey assisted Max and is holding her and Matilda hostage on the ship. During the journey, a fight ensues and Kruger is grievously wounded by a grenade blast, which also disables the ship’s engines. After Kruger’s ship crashes on Elysium, Max, Frey and Matilda are arrested and taken to Delacourt, who orders the download of the program, despite the fact that it will kill Max.
After being revived by a Med-Bay, a deranged Kruger kills Delacourt after being chastised for his recklessness. On Kruger’s orders, his men exterminate the Elysian political officers, in order to seize control for himself. Meanwhile, having escaped his confinement, Max, knowing that Med-Bays only work for Elysian citizens, resolves to use Carlyle’s program to give everyone on Earth citizenship. He heads for Elysium’s core but is ambushed by Kruger, now equipped with a military-grade exoskeleton far superior to Max’s. In the ensuing fight, Max manages to disable Kruger’s suit. However Kruger tethers himself to Max’s suit and arms a grenade with the intent of killing them both. Max rips off the tether and hurls Kruger over a ledge to his death.
Spider and Max reach Elysium’s computer core where Spider realizes that the program’s activation will kill Max. Max personally activates the program, having spoken a last time with Frey via radio. As Max dies, Elysium’s computer core reboots and registers every Earth resident as an Elysian citizen. President Patel arrives with security guards but the robots refuse to arrest Spider whom they now recognize as a citizen. Matilda is cured by a Med-Bay, and Elysium’s computer dispatches a fleet of medical ships to Earth to begin medical treatment of the new Elysian citizens.
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First Published: May 7, 2014