My hubby, the baby boy and I went to see Elysium this afternoon. Last night I had read a glowing review about the movie, the critic raved about the movie on two fronts; one was the quality of the movie vis a vis science fiction movies and the other front being its relevance as a social commentary. The critic was already a huge fan of the director’s work, “District 9″and he said that Mister Blomkeep continues to deliver excellent action-science fiction/fantasy story telling with a strong moral center supporting the entire storyline.
The critic wasn’t wrong, the three of us seriously enjoyed the movie. Matt Damon’s character was the quintessential flawed hero and one of the points that the movie brought home very well is how almost impossible it is in our society for ex-convicts to turn their life around even when they are committed to their new jobs, the unmitigated bias and prejudice against them at every turn makes turning over a new leaf very depressing and requires great strength and perseverance.
Another aspect that struck me was how clearly you see, that by distancing themselves away from the rest of the 99% of the population, the wealthiest lose touch of reality and they wholeheartedly believe like the monarchs of long ago that they absolutely deserve their wealth, that they created all their wealth when in reality they did not. It is a complete impossibility for a person to create the incredible wealth all by themselves. Shares and stocks are only illusionary pieces of wealth, all perception and could easily lose their value with negative publicity or a scandal. Visionaries, inventors and business people don’t become wealthy until the stock market gets involved. A private store, if successful, can afford a good life for the owner and his or her employees, but you will not be the wealthy person who would be able to live on Elysium. However you will continue to keep your feet on the ground and treat your employees well, one hopes and not worry about choosing between paying fair wages and profit margins.
The third point that struck me was how clearly you see how, despite all the worker’s productivity, they reap nothing, there is only pain, poverty and sickness and the wealth is all siphoned up, literally up to space, to provide the wealthy with the lifestyle that they demand and feel that is their right. Jodie Foster plays the Defense Secretary, in charge of security, and you see a cold and calculating woman devoid of compassion who feels justified in her actions because with the separation between the wealthy and the poor, it becomes very easy to assign all blame to the poor, that they deserve their unfortunate circumstances because they are subpar and they are lacking. That is what separation of economic classes produces as a side effect and it produces a mental justification, very insidious and dangerous.
I think that this is one of the more powerful movies that we have seen this year and I highly recommend it.