I love allegory, especially when it is done well. Sometimes the rhetoric is a bit too thin, the allegory being more of a blatant club rather than a veiled suggestion. That would be the case with “Elysium.” It is a story of the future Haves verses the Have-nots, with the allusion to our modern world as clear as glass. But sometimes there is no sense in hiding behind a veil. Put the message out front, force the conversation, and that may also be the case with “Elysium.”
It is an engaging story, full of action. I cannot say that there are any twists. Much like the analogies, the story shoots straight, and there is nothing wrong with that. The actors do well. Matt Damon is, well, Matt Damon. He is not a character actor, he is himself with the ability to handle lines and emote a bit. It works for this picture. Jodie Foster was a bit stiff, but I do not know if it was Ms. Foster, or the position the director put her in. She was required to sport a rather unique accent, something between a French and British blend that she found unwieldy. It could be argued that she simply could not pull off a pure French accent. However, other actors also sported odd accents, which I believe was a directorial construct to suggest a future time. It would have been better to cut the actors loose on their pronunciation, and allow them to express more.
The direction is good, despite the accent considerations I mentioned. This is the same director as for “District 9,” which I really like. He has a clean, blunt approach that I enjoy. However, in this case, he and the editor were a tiny bit at odds. There are a few cuts that feel uncomfortable, as if we missed something. The music is wonderful and fits well. The sound effects are spot on. The cinematography is well done, and the digital effects and the artistic conceptualizations are amazing. Note that there is no 3D of this one. All in all, I enjoyed it.
It is rated R, more for violence, though there are a few F-bombs.
It is worth the ticket if you are looking for something to do, otherwise, Redbox it.