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Intriguing and disturbing
Without the appropriate cinematic skills, this film could have sunk completely, but thanks to Chan-wook Park being a master of psychological thriller, it came to be a nice work of art. A great manipulator of the audience's emotions, he meticulously constructs the movie in such a way to get you exactly where he wants you throughout it. He might be a little bold, but he knows how to keep the balance.
"Stoker" obliges you to stay fully conscious all the time to keep up with the symbolisms and invites you to use your imagination. The director wants a participating audience, is ambiguous on purpose, loves to make us wonder and speculate just as much as he loves leaving us room for interpretation when the film ends. Deliberate loose ends and cut scenes, designed to confuse the viewer and cause uncertainty.
Much like with his all-time classic, puzzling masterpiece "Oldboy", Park wants to disturb you. An exciting, twisted story, very powerful scenes, even scenes that many people won't be able to tolerate. A compelling story about dark nature and sickness, about liberating yourself and becoming aware of your desires. Violence is portrayed with scenes focused on beauty, and sexuality is portrayed dark and repressed.
I liked the script by Wentworth Miller (although I don't think the script gets full credit for the suspense created here), and I found Mia Wasikowska's performance superb.
This film is dark and might make you feel disgusted or uncomfortable. But for me, the beauty of the scenes, the emotions it provokes and how it climaxes, made me think of it as a piece of music.
Close to being a great movie, but it lacks creative plot
Once again, like with "District 9", Neill Blomkamp's work amazed but also disappointed me. When I saw District 9, although I loved it, I felt that the concept of the movie had much more potential than what it delivered. That was even more intense in Elysium. In both movies, the main idea was so original, but it feels like in Elysium, Blomkamp rested on that and didn't provide us with an equivalent plot. The plot looked superficial and not at all detailed.
The story was very simplistic and stayed pretty much on the surface instead of getting deeper into the socio-political issues that were brought up. The audience didn't have the chance to get to know the different societies and the links between them, or the structure of the system. Nor did we get a wider glimpse of Earth, besides the slum city Max (Matt Damon)was living in. Also, towards the ending, the whole movie gets a little bit flat.
The direction of the movie is absolutely brilliant. Nicely done scenes, and full of the director's personal style. First with District 9 and now with Elysium, Neill Blomkamp reveals himself as a great new director. He comes up with great ideas, he doesn't give us the usual Hollywood sci-fi movie but something more. He's very original, very avant-garde, I am actually pretty excited to see his next piece of work.
Elysium exceeds the expectations based on its trailer, but if you are a District 9 fan, I must say, you will probably find Elysium inferior. But still, it is a good film. For me, it starts very strong and then loses it, but i overall enjoyed it.