In this nihilistic portrayal of American society in the 1970s, we are told that if you want to get ahead you have to lie, cheat and steal. Ethics are turned on their head as we are lead to believe that the con artists are good and the law enforcers stupid and incompetent. The audience is supposed to loose respect for all the institutions of Western civilization and be lured over to a culture of deception and hypocrisy. All of the personal relationships portrayed in this movie are tainted by cheating and are always dysfunctional.
Humour is the weapon used to attack the FBI, who try to mount a sting operation involving a Mexican FBI agent pretending to be an Arabian Sheik Investor. In a meeting with an ominous Mafia boss played by Robert DeNiro, DeNiro's character begins a conversation with the ostensible Sheik in Arabic! This shows the Mafia man to be more educated and resourceful than the clumsy crew of FBI clowns who are trying to entrap him.
The protagonist Irving, is a Jewish businessman played by Christian Bale who, in addition to running a dry cleaning chain, cultivates a more lucrative embezzling operation, on the side as his so called “real” business. He is made up to look and sound reminiscent of meat-head in the 1970s TV Show All In The Family. Even his wife played by Jennifer Lawrence is made up to look like a hybrid of Gloria and Edith from the same sitcom, which is very funny and well executed by the actress. But it is still a throw back to the subversive shows of the 1970s like All In The Family and MASH, whose goal was to ridicule patriotism and trash conservatives.
All in all it is mediocre socio-political conditioning but it is laced with some sarcastic humour. Everybody is a hustler or con artist, even if most are unaware of it, according to Irving.
This is one of the best political thrillers ever shot on film. Intellectually rigorous, suspensfully superlative and emotionally moving, there are very few films that can hold a candle to this masterpiece. We are convincingly swept up into the world of Panem, a dictatorship or tyranny of a select class of privileged apparatchiks in the Capitol, who rule over a much larger population of workers in 12 less equal districts. The ideology however, is not specified. You can read fascism or communism into it, take your pick. In this society everyone is under total coercion, death being the punishment for disobedience. This aspect is vividly portrayed in refreshing contrast to so many Hollywood "message" films that don't bother with the most salient flaws of the messages they are pushing. If you haven't seen it yet, treat yourself to this incredibly meaningful adventure movie. The acting is also unbelievably good, by all who are in it. Beautiful!
Quentin Tarantino seems to be a protege of Scorsese, producing movies which trivialize and exalt brutality and violence by suggesting that there is something funny and cool about killing and torturing people. This movie, like Mean Streets and Silence of the Lambs, is beyond sick. The producers behind such films want our society and civilization to fall into a new Dark Ages where there are no morals, no hope and only the belligerent and sadistic rule. The movie is filled with A list stars in order to make it easier to swallow but, it is definitely a poison pill. All of Tarantino's movies seem to be about killing and how you are supposed to see it in a humorous light. God help us.
This is one of the most enjoyable suspense-filled rides ever produced by Hollywood from the days when bad guys were bad and dignity was a recognized value. Audrey Hepburn's acting really reinforces the tenuous nature of the predicament she finds herself in, after her wealthy husband dies and leaves her a small ostensibly valuable airline bag filled with seemingly worthless personal effects. Strange men enter her life claiming that her husband lit out with a fortune that all of them had stolen from the Nazis during the war. The plot has more twists than a pretzel and is guaranteed to please, right to the surprise ending.
In the lavishly produced sci-fi movie Elisyum the good guys are the criminals and the bad guys are blond, blue-eyed french speaking civilized wealthy people, living in luxury and perpetual youth, on board a kind of floating gated community in orbit. The year is 2159 and the surface of the earth is a giant slum run by criminals, where the majority live in squalor and poverty. In this dystopian future Los Angeles, the high rises have all been taken over by squatters who have built do-it-yourself shacks and sheds even on the highest floors, giving the whole skyline a cluttered, overrun yet forlorn appearance. It cannot be denied however, that the special effects and computer graphic imaging are really quite superb.
The protagonist, whom we are presumably supposed to identify with, played by Matt Damon, is a convicted car thief who is on parole. He works in a droid factory and has an accident because his wicked, mean and nasty boss mercilessly coerces him to go inside a dangerous area, in order to free a jammed door, which sadly winds up with Damon's character getting a full dose of radiation. The evil corporation is always oppressing the worker so. How awful. So now, since he has so little to lose, he helps the leader of the criminals kidnap the CEO of Armadyne, the droid and weapons manufacturer he used to work for, in exchange for a passage to Elysium, where he can get cured.
This story is so contrived and self serving for the ideology it blatantly projects, that it has all of the objectivity and credibility of a paid political announcement, by the communist party. Why don't these movies ever depict socialists and Marxists as the bad guys and individuals struggling for freedom and independence, as the good? Watching these repulsive convicts, one finds it difficult to identify with Matt Damon's character. It is easier to identify with Jodi Foster's character, who wishes to defend Elysium, despite the considerable lengths the writers have gone to, to try to make her seem unsympathetic to the wretched hoards of the great unwashed, who would probably only destroy everything if they could reach Elysium.
Ironically Neil Blomkamp (District 9) has created an unwitting allegory of Los Angeles today, where the privileged celebrities like Matt Damon, prevail in a kind of Elysium called Hollywood, living their lives out in total luxury, while the black youngsters kill each other, in the streets of L.A.'s slums. In real life Matt Damon will take home millions from this movie.