By Eleanor Ringel Cater
How scared is the Hollywood elite of the city outside their zillion-dollar conclaves?
Really scared. If you need proof, look no further than “Elysium,” some sci-fi hokum supposedly set in the 22nd century, but actually pretty redolent of a specific sort of Lala-Land paranoia.
That is, rampant paranoia about all those people who make their comfortable gated lives possible. All those people — the cook, the chauffeur, the gardener, the pool boy, whoever— who go away after dark. Where to? Their well-cushioned employers would rather not know.
In this creatively barren film that translates into an inner-city inferno now known as Earth, apparently mostly populated by Hispanics (told you this was a peculiarly Hollywood-style paranoia). The better-off (read anyone in the 1 percent) have decamped to Elysium,” a golden community in space that’s shaped, weirdly enough, like a Mercedes hood ornament.
A bald-as-a-billiard-ball Matt Damon stars as a low-life who needs to get Up There real quick. Something about radiation poisoning. Jodie Foster plays a nasty uber-boss who pretty much runs Elysium. However, she has higher ambitions.
The plot details matter not, mostly because I’ve just told you the essence of it: Damon needs to get to Elysium; Foster needs to stop him.
Yet again, Hollywood has snapped up an outsider — in this case, South African Neill Blomkamp, who made the arpatheid-laced and memorably metaphorical film, “District 9.”
Then they handed him a generic big-budget blunderbuss of a movie on which to put his “unique” stamp. He can’t pull it off; I’m not certain anyone could.
Perhaps the part of “Elysium” I enjoyed the most was that, aside from the stridently asexual Foster (not her fault; it’s the role), women were still happily hanging laundry out to dry on clotheslines.
Ah, the Future. It’s so…traditional.