Elysium Reviews

Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Grantland
January 3, 2014
Any thematic audacity is snuffed out by action sequences that you can now buy at Dollar General.
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Matthew Kassel
New York Observer
August 14, 2013
Like Max, the movie has to keep moving, and Mr. Blomkamp lets you fill in the gaps yourself as it progresses. Or not.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
August 9, 2013
Though Elysium is a testament to Blomkamp's extraordinary skill as a visual filmmaker, it does not speak nearly so well for his gifts as a writer.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 9, 2013
The action is bludgeoning.
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Adam Nayman
Globe and Mail
August 9, 2013
A cautionary tale about the dangers of squandering resources that wastes its own talent.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
August 9, 2013
If Elysium is an example of how recession-era Hollywood intends to dramatize the rift between the haves and the have-nots, let's hope the studios don't also bring back Smell-O-Rama.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Tom Long
Detroit News
August 9, 2013
An epic about saving humanity that feels more manufactured than human.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
August 9, 2013
It's like one of those bad "Star Trek" episodes, when Gene Roddenberry stopped everything on the bridge so he could lecture us about the Cold War.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
August 8, 2013
This is one of the better action films of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
August 8, 2013
Although the pulp energy that Blomkamp brings to this material makes it consistently watchable, the film doesn't feel as singular as we would have hoped.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Soren Anderson
Seattle Times
August 8, 2013
Few mainstream moviemakers have painted as sprawling and densely detailed a portrait of humanity in extremis as Blomkamp does here.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
August 8, 2013
Does a little, sometimes shockingly little, with a lot.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 8, 2013
Among the slew of recent futuristic hell-in-a-handbasket spectacles, Elysium takes the cake.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
August 8, 2013
Makes clear that Blomkamp is a genuine visionary who's trying to push the envelope of possibility in mainstream popcorn cinema.
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Michael Sragow
Orange County Register
August 8, 2013
The movie's blue-collar aesthetic, impressive in its vision and kinetics, lacks emotional variety and humor.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
August 8, 2013
Damon's presence greatly alleviates the been-there feel of this Elysium excursion, which starts to run out of steam when the usual explosive heroics kick in.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
August 8, 2013
The movie is both sloppy in its details and too literal in its thinking. A less blunt allegory might have made for sharper entertainment.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
August 8, 2013
Director/writer [Neill] Blomkamp has tossed adie any sense of subtlety for a heavy-handed reprise of some of District 9's basic themes hog-tied to a riff on undocumented immigration.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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John Anderson
Wall Street Journal
August 8, 2013
Mr. Damon brings both a weary optimism and convincing physicality to Max, who is no revolutionary. He just wants to live, and is willing to don an exoskeletal combat suit and fight robots to do it.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
August 8, 2013
Blomkamp's admirable if obvious egalitarianism too often devolves into simplistic wish-fulfillment. Still, his formidable visual imagination is on full display.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
August 8, 2013
I departed the theater satisfied with what I'd seen but wanting more.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
August 8, 2013
Mr. Damon's performance helps keep the movie from sinking under the weight of its artfully constructed horrors.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Rob Nelson
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 8, 2013
What's great about "Elysium" is that it invites and even encourages discussion and debate while delivering proficiently at the levels of plot, action and special effects.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 8, 2013
This vision of a violent future makes "Elysium" well worth seeing, even as the conventional violence of the thriller finale makes it a missed opportunity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
August 8, 2013
"Elysium" is an action movie made for people thinking about something besides things blowing up. Damon shows you everything without trying to show you anything - at least without seeming like he's trying. He's like looking into clear water.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times
August 8, 2013
Despite a crazy-bad performance from a two-time Oscar winner, 'Elysium' is great entertainment.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
August 8, 2013
Elysium is a gripping, visceral, disconcerting bit of business. Just as writer-director Neill Blomkamp intended.
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
August 8, 2013
Damon has an awfully good nose for material; even when "Elysium" grows allegorically simplistic or familiar, the script avoids pounding cliche, and Blomkamp and his design and effects teams give us a plausibly harsh idea of things to come.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
August 8, 2013
A grim and predictable adventure saga that is not nimble but leaden. Dystopia has rarely been so dysto-pointing.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 8, 2013
Elysium delivers sci-fi without dumbing it down. It's a hell-raiser with a social conscience.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Huddleston
Time Out
August 8, 2013
[A] conceptually bold, sporadically engaging but ultimately bland blockbuster.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
August 8, 2013
It's pretty cool to try to work those worthy topics into a science-fiction film, but it's too bad Blomkamp checked all semblance of subtlety at the door.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
August 8, 2013
An expertly-made slice of future shock that breaks no new ground whatsoever.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
August 7, 2013
Elysium is a sporadically engaging tale, as well as a potent commentary on immigration and health care policies.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
August 7, 2013
Elysium confirms the talent - for razory mayhem and shocking satire, for the crazed spectacle of future decay - that Blomkamp showcased in his amazing first feature, District 9.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
August 7, 2013
The visual style evokes numerous bone-crushing blockbusters of recent years, but part of what makes this so invigorating is the way it turns the genre on its head, critiquing military might and voicing sympathy for the disenfranchised.
Top Critic
August 7, 2013
Elysium revs you up, and on its own dumb terms it delivers. But it's less fun when Blomkamp blows something up than when he sends it up ...
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
August 7, 2013
Like some of the best sci-fi movies, it draws strength from a great idea. Then it settles for crunching battles and predictability.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
August 7, 2013
Furiously exciting sci-fi, carefully considered and loaded with allegories and social commentary.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jocelyn Noveck
Associated Press
August 6, 2013
If ''Elysium'' doesn't nearly live up to ''District 9,'' it shows enough panache to leave us waiting enthusiastically for his next effort.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Charlie McCollum
San Jose Mercury News
August 6, 2013
For all its flaws, Elysium is an often-absorbing and largely entertaining film from a young director with a great future. That makes it worth seeing -- if not a complete success.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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David Fear
Time Out
August 6, 2013
Elysium may point with a singularly pulpy brio toward where we could be headed. But in terms of how its fictional heroes try to transcend such brave new worlds, it's not showing us a future we haven't seen a million times before.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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A.A. Dowd
AV Club
August 6, 2013
Appealing though he usually is as an action hero, Damon doesn't have much to do here but scowl and look cool brandishing giant weapons.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
August 6, 2013
Putting on his Very Serious face for what ought to be a romp, Matt Damon is exactly the wrong choice for a role that 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger would have played with a twinkle in his eye.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Village Voice
August 5, 2013
It's hard to say if the movie sags around the weight of [Damon's] performance or if he's just working inhumanly hard to hold this heavy-spirited picture aloft.
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
August 5, 2013
It hits you as fact; the director's fiercest gift is not to invent the future, as a plausible dream, but to report on it as if it already existed
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William Goss
Film.com
August 2, 2013
Blomkamp's seemingly limitless imagination in terms of tech finds itself repeatedly and frustratingly grounded by heavy-handed storytelling.
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Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
August 1, 2013
It might not be the thinking man's fill-in-the-blank that some viewers were eagerly anticipating, but it's a solid adventure that oversells its deeper meanings.
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Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
August 1, 2013
A politically charged flight of speculative fiction makes an exciting launch, only to tailspin into an ungainly crash landing in Elysium.
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Scott Foundas
Variety
August 1, 2013
Even working within a more conventional framework, Blomkamp again proves to be a superb storyteller.