WATCH ELYSIUM {2013} ONLINE FREE & DOWNLOAD ELYSIUM MOVIE NOW It’s 2154 and conditions on Earth have been made miserable by disease, pollution and over-population, causing those who can afford the rent to take off for Elysium, a space station set up as a floating Bel Air with neo-classical estates, green lawns and regular pool parties.

Affairs of state are conducted by officials in cocktail gear and Jodie Foster presides as Madame Delacourt, the Secretary of State, in a silver silk power suit with matching earrings. She’s Christine Lagarde without the tan, the charm or the fluency. Her line readings sound as if she’s learnt English from her attendant army of androids.

WATCH ELYSIUM {2013} ONLINE FREE & DOWNLOAD ELYSIUM MOVIE NOW Elysium is a blockbuster by South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, who was lustily embraced by Hollywood after the success of his sci-fi thriller District 9 and given a $100 million-plus budget to make his next movie dream come true.

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Matt Damon (left) and Sharlto Copley in Elysium. Photo: Stephanie Blomkamp

Other young directors have floundered when presented with such a chance and Blomkamp’s is a crowded field. Like many writers of sci-fi, he tells stories about societies where the wealthy and powerful tighten their grip on the good stuff by building barriers strong enough to keep out the dispossessed and make sure they stay that way.

WATCH ELYSIUM {2013} ONLINE FREE & DOWNLOAD ELYSIUM MOVIE NOW In District 9, the outsiders were the remaining survivors of a failed alien invasion who had been penned up in a slum encampment outside Johannesburg and left to get on as best they could. The parallels with apartheid were inescapable and it’s just as easy to see Elysium as a parable about asylum-seeking.

The Earthbound scenes were shot in Mexico City, standing in for a Los Angeles that has grown to look like a gigantic garbage tip. Aerial shots take us swooping over a wilderness of ruined buildings overhung by a dusty grey sky to paint a convincingly grim vista. But it is evident from Blomkamp’s loving depiction of the city’s bustling neighbourhood networks that he’s much more at home here than on Elysium, where his satirical intent isn’t nearly as clear as it ought to be. It was his gleefully grotesque gallows humour that helped make District 9 such an invigorating experience and the LA scenes have more of the same.

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WATCH ELYSIUM {2013} ONLINE FREE & DOWNLOAD ELYSIUM MOVIE NOW Fans will be especially delighted by the casting of District 9’s star, Sharlto Copley, as Kruger, the villain-in-chief, a leering South African mercenary who commands an arsenal of heavy weapons and looks as if he’s been coated with diesel oil.

Matt Damon’s Max is almost as tough. Having grown up in an orphanage, he’s graduated to a career in car-jacking before deciding to go straight and settle for a soul-destroying job in a factory. He has long fantasised about living in Elysium and he finally gets his chance after an industrial accident exposes him to a lethal dose of radiation. His local people smuggler (Wagner Moura) cuts him a deal. If he will kidnap the tycoon who designed the computer system governing Elysium, he will get a free passage, complete with a new identity giving him access to Elysium’s life-saving medical facilities.

WATCH ELYSIUM {2013} ONLINE FREE & DOWNLOAD ELYSIUM MOVIE NOW Damon has been busy shape-shifting lately. As Liberace’s boy friend in Behind the Candelabra, he was transformed by cosmetic surgery and in this film he’s treated to an even more radical make-over. To give him a much-needed boost in the hostilities to follow, he’s fitted with a "biomechanical exoskeleton". It’s bolted to his body by an operating team equipped with a full set of power tools in what looks like a welders’ shop. When he asks these caregivers if it’s going to hurt, they laugh so hard that they almost drop their buzz saws.

The second half is taken up with a series of fire fights in which Kruger and Max undergo several near-death experiences each. And they’re not alone. By the time they finally reach Elysium, there’s an extremely long queue for the medical facilities.

WATCH ELYSIUM {2013} ONLINE FREE & DOWNLOAD ELYSIUM MOVIE NOW As for whether or not the energy and originality of Blomkamp’s style has survived in its new environment, I’d say yes and no. Apocalyptic visions are all over the screen this year. The planet has been overrun by zombies, demolished by nuclear war and rendered uninhabitable by pollution. Wholesale destruction, sad to say, has become a cliche. And life on Elysium seems tame compared with the high camp excesses of the elites in The Hunger Games, who will be back with us again when the sequel arrives in a few months.

WATCH ELYSIUM {2013} ONLINE FREE & DOWNLOAD ELYSIUM MOVIE NOW But he does have a bracingly sardonic touch and his casting is terrific. Brazil’s Alice Braga and Mexico’s Diego Luna head a supporting cast who help bring credibility to a Los Angeles that has been largely left to its black and Hispanic populations.

The film has recorded heartening opening figures at the US box-office and it’s great to see a popular tentpole picture that is not the fifth sequel in a franchise. But now Blomkamp needs a new theme. He’s really worked this one over.