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Official Plot Synopsis For Neill Blomkamp's 'Elysium' Reveals Another Sci-Fi Political Allegory

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 14, 2012 at 8:36PM

In this day and age, when leaks from big-budget movies are par for the course, it's pretty amazing that, so far, Neill Blomkamp has managed to keep a tight lid on his top secret "Elysium." All that's really known is that it's set in the future, stars Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga, Diego Luna and Wagner Moura, and it features the work of "Blade Runner" designer Syd Mead. But late last summer, word surfaced that the film was going to have a political angle to it—much in the way "District 9" bore more than few references to apartheid—and was "set in a near future fraught with Anglo­-Hispanic racial tensions." And it seems that's the case as tensions between two classes—though not necessary anglo-hispanic—will be key.
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Neill Blomkamp

In this day and age, when leaks from big-budget movies are par for the course, it's pretty amazing that, so far, Neill Blomkamp has managed to keep a tight lid on his top secret "Elysium." All that's really known is that it's set in the future, stars Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga, Diego Luna and Wagner Moura, and it features the work of "Blade Runner" designer Syd Mead. But late last summer, word surfaced that the film was going to have a political angle to it—much in the way "District 9" bore more than few references to apartheid—and was "set in a near future fraught with Anglo­-Hispanic racial tensions." And it seems that's the case as tensions between two classes—though not necessary anglo-hispanic—will be key.

"Elysium" is now heading into advance/test screenings and the folks at Collider got their hands on an invite that contains a full plot synopsis for the film. As usual, if you want to go in fresh, stop reading hereIn the year 2159 two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hardline government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that if successful will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

The political allusions to a topic that has become a central issue in both the United States and Europe over the past few years are pretty much plain as day, and it sounds like an ambitiously ballsy move for a big-budget movie. But Blomkamp showed with "District 9" that he was ably to navigate thematic undercurrents with ease and still deliver a highly entertaining and very accomplished genre picture; that even-handed approach is one we're guessing (and hoping) will be seen here as well.

You might remember that the viral marketing campaign got off to an early start last spring, but has quieted in the time since. But with the film screening tonight (hopefully not followed by either the ridiculous over-the-top praise or the utter derision online that the "Gravity" screening was met with last month), we think it's a pretty good bet that it's just the first step prior to Sony deciding to bring this film to Comic-Con next month and launch it in a big way. We'll soon see. "Elyisum" opens on March 1, 2013.

This article is related to: Elysium, Neill Blomkamp


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