Matt Damon may have returned to his comfort zone as Jason Bourne recently, but here he is stretching himself on set and in the gym in South African writer/director Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to his breakout District 9. This time the setting is an impoverished Los Angeles barrio in a two-tier society in 2154. Damon’s shaven-headed drone is irradiated in an industrial accident and plots to hijack his way to medical treatment on Elysium, the man-made paradise in space where the rich reside. But Sharlto Copley’s hitman is assigned to stop him, under orders from Jodie Foster’s chillingly malevolent defence secretary. An immaculately designed world and carefully mapped narrative are ultimately lost under textbook lock-and-load sci-fi bluster and booming overstatement as Damon, in full-metal armature, transforms into a Nietzschean superman.
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