The precision and grit of “District 9” are in there, but Neill Blomkamp’s choice to indulge in his bigger budget by throwing in every advanced technology he could conjure up dilutes the more thoughtful, raw components of “Elysium.”
In the year 2154, the rich live in space on Elysium while the poor reside in the overpopulated slums left on Earth. While President Patel (Faran Tahir) Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster), and the rest of the elite enjoy beautiful weather, enormous houses, and machines that can correct any illness in an instant, folks like Max DeCosta (Matt Damon) risk their lives to survive down below.
When a lethal dose of radiation leaves Max with just five days to live, he knows that it’s now or never. He must get up to Elysium. In an effort to earn himself a seat on a rogue ride to the space station, Max accepts a mission from Spider, an underground leader of sorts, to steal pivotal information from Armadyne CEO John Carlyle’s (William Fichtner) head and download it into his own. Little does Max know that that data will put him right in Delacourt’s line of fire and, therefore, make him Kruger’s (Sharlto Copley) primary target.
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Movies are all about making your wildest dreams come true, right? Okay, only in some instances, but when you’ve got a film about an elaborate heist, I’d like to bet the real thing, if the real thing even exists, is far less exciting than what goes down when we catch a heist movie. So, naturally, Contraband falls into quite a few ludicrous plot holes, but thanks to strong filmmaking all around, they’re generally accepted for the sake of enjoying the adventure.
Chris Farraday was once into making runs, smuggling illegals items into the country via cargo ships, but now he’s got a wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and two young boys. The problem is, Kate’s little brother, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), picked up Chris’ old habit and when a botched run gets him into some major trouble with the man in charge, Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), Chris has no choice, but to head back to work to settle Andy’s debt.
With his old crew by his side, Chris boards a cargo ship as a carpet cleaner. But, of course, when he isn’t keeping those carpets spick and span, he’s plotting to smuggle a Mini Cooper-sized stack of fake bills from Panama back into the US. Chris is confident he’ll be able to pull off the job, but when Briggs threatens his family, the stakes skyrocket and Chris is forced to reevaluate his plan.
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