Sharlto Copley despite giving the greatest performance of all time was not nominated for playing Kruger in Elysium.
Although one does have to ask why Matt Damon's Max thinks he can even take on Kruger in the film. I mean in video game rules Max has a super model exoskeleton, a hand gun, and a machine gun that shoots bullets which explode on impact. Now that suggests that perhaps he's level five at best, but I mean Kruger's got it all. He gets his own better looking exoskeleton, exploding ninja stars, disks that stick to people then explode, a Taser, that kickin' energy shield, his samurai sword of course which must have been some special unlockable from beating the game once or something. I mean Kruger's gotta be like level 50 or something close to that so that whole ending is unbelievable.
Anyway I really should stop being a jerk, and finally become serious in regards to this performance, although probably is best not to be as the best way to enjoy Elysium as a film is to look at it as the way Sharlto Copley clearly did. Where the film wants to be a statement on society and in turn makes some of the most ham-handed films by Oliver Stone seem subtle in comparison, Copley obviously believes it probably should be Mad Max 4: Wraith of the Crazy South African, hey Matt Damon's character name even is Max, coincidence?, seems like it is. Although Copley's performance seems in a different movie and for me its a better movie that is completely fitting of his absurd performance.
Copley's performance is that of a VILLAIN, who is there purely to be evil, inf act he is so evil that the evil sky people believe that he is a bit too evil. All I can really say is Copley is having the time of his life here, and I actually had it right along with him. Copley delivers all of his lines as if he was the most vicious troll known to man as he smiles with such a big smile right before he blows up a guy, or he uses a ninja star and has a one liner that is giving his victim and even harder time for just the sake of it. Copley plays Kruger as a man who just loves messing with people and having an absurdly good time while he does it. Well I had that good time right along Copley, and any time he came on the screen he helped me forget about the unneeded heavy handedness of the rest of the film.
In a more down to earth actorly sense I think there is an accomplishment to be seen in Copley's portrayal of the menacing Kruger. This honestly does not seem like an obvious role for him to play by any measure as his first role was as a very mild mannered fellow in District 9. Copley is quite the opposite being a fierce wild dog, and I think he carries himself across pretty effectively. It might be something that could be easily overlooked, but Copley's ability to play the psychotic Kruger should not be overlooked. There are often many cases of actor's noted for weaker characters attempting to play a villain and failing especially miserably. That is not the case for Copley who uses all of himself to be the seemingly unstoppable force that Kruger should be.
The idea of overacting or flamboyant acting anyway is a tricky prospect, and in Elysium you can see several performances of this type in the film. The problem with say Wagner Moura's performance for example and Jodie Foster's performance is that they are acting in two worlds and doing it poorly. Wagner Moura yells everyone of his lines, I would say Copley has more quiet moments than him even since there is the scene where he sings his lullaby, and stomps around with bizarre gestures. Moura wants to be serious still in some way yet he fails miserably because of his acting. Copley on the other hand has no such nonsensical notions and instead knows he should bring the insanity, and brings it by the ton.
Although I can easily see why this performance would not work for some, as Copley takes a particularly take or leave stance with this performance, but I will gladly take as much as he has to offer. For me Elysium without Copley contains a fine lead performance by Matt Damon but most part it is just a film bogged down by shaky camera, some ludicrously underdeveloped ideas, and a performance by an Oscar winning robot, with Copley on the other hand there is this crazy South African who shows up every so often to bring some energy and fun to the film and every scene he is in with his villainous antics. I will gladly take the version with the mad man any day.