segunda-feira, 23 de setembro de 2013

Movie Review: Elysium

Elysium (written and directed by Neil Blomkamp) is a political movie dressed up as sci-fi. It brings us to the year 2154, when the wealthy portion of human kind has moved to an artificial satellite called Elysium. Over there every sickness can be easily healed, the air is clean, there is security, comfort and pleasure. On the other hand, the rest of the entire human population lives on a desolated version of Earth which sadly resembles the so called 3rd world countries. Down here, on Earth, people live in slum-like buildings, work at dangerous production lines to mass-produce goods to be used by the rich portion of the population and have no access to health or education. Just like the world we live in.

Presenting this social scenario using a realistic production design (just like District 9, Blomkamp's previous work), Elysium is a visceral fable about social segregation. Even though some of the fight sequences look too messy and even boring, failing to present the audience with something we have never seen before, Elysium’s production design gets a few points for presenting us a future which looks chaotically and disturbingly like the present. Differently than the amazing Oblivion or the disposable After Earth, two other movies that showed us different versions of destroyed Earths, Elysium’s version of the future looks somewhat less "plastic" and more "rusty", and that is a clever touch. The future does not only look like the present, it is the present.

Once you get to notice this resemblance, you just have to be a little familiar with what happens in our world to start connecting the dots. When a group of illegal immigrants try to force their way into Elysium, for example, it is impossible to avoid thinking about the 10 million (probably more) undocumented immigrants living in United States nowadays, not to mention every single individual who tries to cross the country’s borders with Mexico every day. Actually, the screenplay itself gives us those references ready to swallow – the immigrants even speak Spanish. Maybe that is why two Latin American actors (the Brazilian Wagner Abreu and Alice Braga – whose native language, ironically, is Portuguese, not Spanish) were chosen to star the movie side by side with Matt Damon. Together, their characters will attempt to change society’s status quo, opening the doors of Elysium to everyone on Earth.

And then the movie ends – with the predictable sacrifice and even a flashback montage. But what would happen next, we might ask? As an anti-capitalist revolutionary tale, Elysium’s plot may look exciting while promising to the poor community on Earth tickets to a Heaven where everyone would be considered a legal citizen, but what would happen after billions of people had gotten access to the same resources that only the wealthy once possessed? At this point, we come to the same dead end in which we find ourselves in the real world. (G.P.)

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