‘Elysium’ Combines Bourne Realism with Space Opera


Elysium is an interesting mix of genres, combining the biting realism and quick cut cinematography of the Bourne Identity franchise with elements of classic science fiction. The film, set in Earth’s dystopian future, clearly resonated with audiences as it pulled in $US268 million in global box office revenue behind the inspired performance of Matt Damon and his supporting cast.


Elysium is an action-adventure fans outside of the sci-fi genre will definitely enjoy.


Blomkamp’s Inspiration


Given the pedigree of the talent involved in the film, helmed by South African director and rising star Neill Blomkamp, Elysium endeavors to be more than just a space romp adventure. Like all of his films, particularly his debut-hit District 9 (2009), Blomkamp weaves in a landscape of relevant socio-economic problems into a highly imaginative plot.


Elysium tackles over-population and the looming problems of resource hording by the wealthy at the expense of the poor, including basic essentials as food and medical care. There is no doubt that Blomkamp has been greatly inspired by Paul Verhoeven, who also combined social commentary into science fiction pieces. Films such as Total Recall (1990) and RoboCop (1987) have left their fingerprints all over Blomkamp’s artistic vision.


Elysium’s Ensemble


Leading the cast is the thinking-man’s action star and Academy Award winner, Matt Damon. His experiences with Doug Liman in the Bourne Identity (2002) were essential in guiding the theme and style of Elysium. He plays the dispossessed laborer Max Da Costa, struggling to survive in a system that only values the rich and powerful.



Joining him on screen is a bevy of big names and talent.


  • Two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs, The Accused) plays against type as the cold government official focused only on power and money, Delacourt.


  • Sharlto Copley (District 9, The A-Team) reunites with Blomkamp to play the hired-killer, Kruger. This is a role that truly illustrates Copley’s range as he makes a memorable screen villain.


  • Alice Braga (Predators, I Am Legend) serves as the story’s love interest in the role of Frey, the mother of a young girl with leukemia that must be taken to Elysium to be saved.


  • The film also includes a number of lesser-known talent that do more than hold their own with the bigger names. In particular, Mexican actor Diego Luna in the role of Julio shows why he has such a bright future in upcoming roles.


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