In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on Elysium, a stanford torus high-tech utopian space station, governed by President Patel (Faran Tahir), located in orbit around Earth that is free of crime, war, poverty, hunger, and diseases, while everyone else lives on an overpopulated, ruined Earth below. The citizens of Elysium live a life of luxury which includes access to private medical machines that offer instant cures, while the citizens of the Earth struggle to survive on a daily basis and are desperate to escape the planet. Those who maintain Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens' lifestyle, even destroying ships that attempt to get there.
After an industrial accident leaves him with a cancer virus, 36 year-old former car-thief-turned-factory-worker Max DeCosta (Matt Damon) has only five days to get to Elysium in order to be cured. Max straps into a powerful exoskeleton and attempts to kidnap a rich businessman (William Fichtner) in order to steal his identity and hijack his way into Elysium. This pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her violent secret police forces, led by Kruger (Sharlto Copley)., a move that violates the law of Patel.