Monday, June 9, 2008

The Elysium Dream

Author(s): Tony
Location: PA

"The Elysium Dream"

Written and Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Produced by Lawrence Turman
Music by Clint Mansell
Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki

Main Cast

Cillian Murphy as Noah
Liam Neeson as Dr. Thomas Vexler
Emily Blunt as Tessa
Elias Koteas as Father Everett
Ed Sanders as Thomas Vexler Jr

Tagline: "Is there a way to be saved?"

Synopsis: "They say when you die your whole life flashes before you. I've felt my heart beating for so long, but I've been dead for years. Whose fault was it? This contemporary society that thrives on the blood and helplessness of others? Is it mine....or was it his? I admire this isolation room, the bed sure is comfy, but as far as this near catatonic state...well, I've been there many times. Wait...I remember now."

Society has taken the next step in advertising, senseless laws, and unbearable crimes. Noah reaches for his needle and turns off his television, it only made him more disgusted. He was a political radical and a demanding heroin addict. He's heard rumors of Dr. Vexler for months now. He's a wealthy man with the solutions, he runs a secret underground organization, drug related. Noah is in search of Dr. Vexler and eventually locates him. Vexler was a political and religious demagogue and the father of Thomas Jr, a mute child. He see's Noah is vulnerable and special, something that could help his revolution. He was a genius at manipulation and brainwashing techniques. He would give Noah a fix a day if he did what he was told, he thrived on his addiction. His plan is brilliant in its simplicity, assassination and replacement.

Noah is now Vexlers assassin, his docile puppet. Vexler knows that the human mind can be very unbalanced. Therefore, he brings Noah to his best friend Father Everett, a corrupt priest, and his assistant Tessa. At only eighteen, Tessa was a prostitute-turned-nun, saved from the streets by Everett. Months have gone by, Noah and Tessa have a growing affection towards each other. Although he is convinced his mission will save the world, Noah was drowning in guilt. He sees Tessa as his only means to salvation. Tessa gives him solace in the church to absolve his sins. They're in a candle light room where Noah is musing on all the people he has killed. He lights a candle for each hit and by the end of the solace he's sits in a room full of candles.

Thomas realizes the dangers Tessa provides to his experiment. He orders Noah to kill Tessa and Everett but the two want to leave the project. Vexler reminds him of his fix, thus changing his mind. He confronts Tessa but fails to comply with the command to murder her. She knows he killed Everett who was a father figure to her. His actions made her memories come flooding back. Years filled with men who had used her, degraded and beaten her, and driven their hatred and coldness into her heart. She had left Noah. Days later, high on his fix, Noah visits the church to see Tessa hung by her rosary. Vexler had murdered her, or Noah fulfill his mission without remembering, or did she take her own life? The police barge through the door to see Noah frozen on the ground.

"The gun they found on me will certainly match the one used in the string of recent killings. I must escape and avenge her death. My drug is wearing thin and there's a window. I find Vexler at the church with Jr, the spot where they killed Tessa. He insists I don't rip his heart out in front of his son, and questions me who really did kill her? Jr cries in disbelief, I tell him it will all be over in a minute. Months have gone by and I feel as empty as ever now since I killed my master. Tessa's ghost appears again and angrily exhorts me to kill myself, am I imagining this? There's a gun and a noose in my room. There's also the very thing that drove me to this point, the needle, it cries out to me. I inject the lethal dosage as my spirit is reunited with Tessa, together we reflect the only times we were happy. Unfortunately I know this not to be real, in fact my last illusion before I'm gone. Did I kill you? Save me.."

What the Press would say:

The wildly imaginative Darren Aronofsky returns with his lately triumphant masterpiece, "The Elysium Dream". Like most Aronofsky films, the plot is extremely thick, one that tackles the situations we have still going on today. Whether its drug relations, religion, politics, murder, manipulation, this film focuses on it all in one big 2 and a half hour feature film. It's almost too hard to grasp it all in the first viewing. Surprisingly, the film isn't too violent. Most of our lead characters murders are shown in a drug induced form with excellent camera angles that don't reveal much, thus making the scenes more powerful. With beautiful, yet haunting cinematography and an amazing score, most of the films credit can go to the acting ability. Cillian Murphy is our lead, the soul of the film. It is the mutilation of his life, his whole character that takes center stage, ending in a satisfying climax of gargantuan proportions in which he gives the audience more than their money's worth in his power-packed performance. Whether he frightens you with his murderous antics or comforts you with his soft words, Murphy is solid and the front runner for major awards to come. Liam Neeson shines as the soft spoken, yet informative role as Dr. Vexler. His words are vital to the scripts point, every time he opens his mouth we are engaged in his dialogue. A role that's scary to some, admirable, or disturbing. A character of power demands an actor with no remorse, Neeson fits it perfectly. And lastly, Emily Blunt, who plays Tessa. It's hard to believe a character at this magnititude could be involved with such hate mongrels, she knows her position, but she's grateful for everything. Her heart is pure even if her actions aren't admired. Her and Murphy have a satisfying chemistry that only builds the intensity and emotion scene after scene.

Of course, "The Elysium Dream" refers to the last scene, where Noah and Tessa are bound together in happiness. A happiness they wanted to have but it was inevitable they wouldn't in a society such as this. Reality hits hard for some, and that's one of the many lessons to be learned from this epic. Not recommended if you're easily shocked, squeamish, or upset. It is recommended for those who want to see a movie that will completely overtake you and involve you emotionally. Find a baby-sitter for this one, and get ready for a mind blowing experience that you'll never forget.


Best Picture - Darren Aronofsky, Lawrence Turman
Best Director - Darren Aronofsky
Best Actor - Cillian Murphy
Best Supporting Actress - Emily Blunt
Best Supporting Actor - Liam Neeson
Best Original Screenplay - Darren Aronofsky
Best Original Score - Clint Mansell
Best Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Editing
Best Art Direction

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