I reviewed Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium for kamera, and was one of the only people who liked it. For older reviews by me, including 10 reviews from Edinburgh Film Fest 2014, please visit the site.
JC Chandor, the director of the critically acclaimed Margin Call (2011), made an interesting decision when approaching his second film: his debut was a dialogue-heavy ensemble piece about the financial crash of 2008, but his second film, All Is Lost (2013), starring Robert Redford, is a nearly silent film about a man lost at sea and has only one cast member. It’s as big a contrast between two films as you can manage, an attempt to prove that the director has a varied and interesting bag of tricks. Whether he was successful remains to be seen – although it opened in Cannes to a generally positive reception – but it does highlight the issue of that difficult second film; a hot young director fresh from the success of his critically adored debut faces a big decision about whether to try something completely new or do more of the same but bigger and better. Neil Blomkamp, who directed the stunning District 9 (2009), is a bigger name than Chandor, so his next step has been keenly anticipated. His debut was Oscar nominated, produced by Peter Jackson and is seen by many as one of the great sci-fi films of the last five years, so what next? The answer is Elysium, and it is clear within the opening exposition of the film that Blomkamp has opted – disappointingly for some – to go with more of the same, only bigger.