Wednesday, 16 September 2009

District 9

Just got back from District 9. Interesting place to visit, wouldn't want to live there.....

As usual I get round to watching a film after half the western world has already seen it, and my opinion is instantly old news. But I'm gonna give it anyway...
So, I'd heard all the hype: first-time director, unknown star, $30m budget ( cheap by Hollywood standards ) etc. etc. But all that doesn't tell you what an exciting, visceral and ultimately moving film District 9 really is.
Refugee aliens ( known only as "prawns" by an uncaring world ) find themselves living in squalor in Johannesburg townships, dreaming of home, abused and exploited by humans, their seemingly dead mother ship floating uselessly above them. After 20 years of tension the authorities decide to clear the slums and deport the prawns to concentration camps further away from the human population. As part of this operation, company stooge Wikus ( played by first-time actor Sharlto Copley ) is sent into the prawn slums to organise the ethnic cleansing, only to be caught up in the prawns' struggle and to realise the extent of human cruelty...
District 9 is a startlingly good film, full of intensity, suspense and jittery energy. And the same goes for Sharlto Copley in an amazingly real performance as a man who changes both emotionally and physically throughout the movie, until he is unrecognisable as the corporate drone introduced in the early scenes. The special effects are incredible in their realism: the aliens and their ship are treated as a part of the landscape, as much as the rubbish-strewn slums around them, and not as some cheesy spectacle. And when the action scenes kick in about half way through the movie they're astonishing, having an impact that directors like Michael Bay could only dream of, and all from a novice film-maker! Let's hope the inevitable call from Hollywood doesn't spoil the promise of Neill Blomkamp, writer and director of this exhilarating movie.

2 comments:

Matthew K. said...

Glad to hear another opinion of this one. I agree regarding the technical aspects, but I thought the plot and the "message" of the film was a little muddled. I thought the protagonist was very annoying, and was rooting for one of the aliens to squash him. FYI- I wrote a brief note about it on facebook.

cerebus660 said...

Personally I thought it was brave to have a main character who starts out unsympathetic, on the wrong side and basically a dork. Not your standard movie hero. That said, I can see your point, and it makes me wonder how much of it was in the script as apparently some of the dialogue was improvised.

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