Here’s another film that I heard was bad, and racist, and and and. I didn’t find it to be so bad, myself. The premise is a bit hyperbolic, the script over-extended, and the acting doesn’t leave much room for accolades (yes, it’s true, this is not anything close to Jodie Foster’s best performances, even if it’s always fun to hear her speaking in French). But this isn’t a piece of garbage. It’s simply not the mind-destroying science fiction film that people seem to always crave and, therefore, expect. In the end it’s just a standard dystopian film, but with a little more Matt Damon than weird used to, and that incredible accent that makes Sharlto Copley almost incomprehensible.

As for the racism? Blomkamp was clearly trying to deal with racism in an exaggerated way, à la District 9, and the man is not what we’d call the sultan of subtlety. As it is, I don’t find it immediately unpalatable to think that the Los Angeles of the future is hispanophone. Is it not already? I don’t find the current prevalence of Spanish to be disgusting, so I don’t have any problem seeing it represented as such in the future. That it would play into the class war (which is what it’s really about) in Elysium, well that simply makes sense, even if it could have been done much better.

I will state, for the record, though, that I’m tired of characters named “Spider,” who are inevitably somewhat the same. The best spider remains Henry Rollins in Johnny Mnemonic (a fairly fun dystopian film, I might add, even if purely ridiculous):


ps. Alice Braga is a knock-out.