By Terri Lee Sylvester

HOLLYWOOD (WWJ) – Matt Damon is absolutely fantastic in his latest film, “Elysium.” “Elysium” is a sci-fi thriller with a touching, emotional message – a message that may not become apparent right away – which, I think, one of the film’s strong points.

In “Elysium,” there is a BIG distinction between the “haves” and the “have nots.” The “haves” are super rich, so rich that they have moved to a man-made space station (Elysium) that has everything anyone could possibly desire, including the ability to cure all earthly diseases. The “have nots” live on an overpopulated and devastated Earth, where people struggle to get by and are, pretty much, left to die.

Bill Block, who produced the film with Simon Kinberg and Neill Blomkamp (famous for the 2009 blockbuster movie “District 9) says that while “Elysium” has non-stop action, the hope is that moviegoers will get what they expect from a summer action film, but also see real world issues as well.

Adds Writer/Director Blomkamp: “I want to blow things up as much as I want to make films that are about serious topics. “I’m more of a visual artist than anything else. I don’t want to make movies that are too serious – I like action and visual imagery, and that’s where it starts for me. But I’m also interested in politics, so once I’ve set up the world and start getting into character and story, the political ideas that intrigue me work their way in there. The subjects that interest me tend to be large, sociological concepts, and I like the idea of making films about those concepts in ways that aren’t heavy-handed or preachy – I hope that putting these topics in this setting will let the audience look at them from a different perspective. The most important thing to me is that the movie is entertaining, but I like to put a worthwhile story underneath, so it isn’t just pure popcorn.”

Frey (ALICE BRAGA, right) is confronted by Kruger (SHARLTO COPLEY, left) in TriStar Pictures' ELYSIUM.

Frey (ALICE BRAGA, right) is confronted by Kruger (SHARLTO COPLEY, left) in TriStar Pictures’ ELYSIUM.

No, “Elysium” is not just pure popcorn, but it is definitely a treat. As I mentioned above, Damon is phenomenal in his role as Max, an ordinary man with an extraordinary mission. Jodie Foster is equally phenomenal as Elysium’s hard-lined Secretary Delacourt, and Sharlto Copley plays his role as the villain Kruger to a “T.” I also enjoyed watching Brazilian-born actress Alice Braga as Max’s lifelong friend, Frey, and Wagner Moura in the role of Spider (whose actual intent kept me guessing, and will probably have you doing so, as well).

So, if you’re guessing which film you should see this weekend, put your money on Elysium. You will NOT be disappointed.

Rated R.

See you at the movies!

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee


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