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Archive for the ‘Alice Braga’ Category

Elysium

26 Aug

Elysium – written and directed by Neill Boomkamp. SciFi Dystopian Drama. Earthlings now reside in a wrecked planet while the plutocrats inhabit a disease-free, gated garden in space which, seeking cure, a sick man and a sick child strive to reach. 109 minutes Color 2013.

★★★★★

We watch it because we want to watch Matt Damon carry another picture on his handsomely buffed shoulders. And we are not dissatisfied to see him do it once again. Except, of course, during the final reel, when, as is the long established and fitting custom in action/adventure movies, all character interaction dissolves in the tension inherent in his surviving the villainous remaining obstacles. This tension is in him and in us. Or is it in him? Or is it that we simply see him beat the odds with superior wit, muscle, and plot necessity, while we do all the tensing?

In any case, these sequences are over-cut, because we must not be asked to believe them, because to do that we would have to see them slowed down, and doing that, we would never find them credible. As it is we never find them credible. They simply zip by. And so the hero, the story, the human element – all are lost in the flash and speed of the editing, and we are bamboozled.

Are we bamboozled?

Nah. We don’t really buy it.

I’m not sure I buy the Jodie Foster freeze character of the mean Secretary of Defense of Elysium, as written, either. And I cannot understand two of the actors at all: Wagner Moura as Spider, Damon’s rebel chief, whose shaking curls destroy his articulation, and Sharlto Copley whose burr is so garbled and pitched that nothing the actor says can be heard. These characters, of course, are perfectly clear in their roles, but not in their gobbledygook. Bad direction. Too bad. It means all their humor is lost.

What’s not too bad is Damon, who, as always, is apple-pie, threatened, within or without, with strychnine. A completely identifiable actor, like Joel McCrae or James Stewart. And the entire contraption of the film is given and validated in its feeling and value by him and by Alice Braga. She is a wonderful actor, womanly, humorous, fluid, heaven to look at. She is a tincture of health in the sour atmosphere of nasty doom, exemplified by the part played by William Fitchner, a piece of work if ever there was one – Mr. Elegant Death, a sort of walking very expensive coffin.

The film satisfies as briskly as any other fast food you can think of. If you want to spend time without wasting time, you might like it.

 
 
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