District 9 (2009)

One is immediately immersed in the film’s world. Beginning in medias res with stark images of a massive spacecraft hovering over Johannesburg, the audience quickly discovers it’s been there for over thirty years by the time our story picks up. For months after the craft appeared the Earth waited for a response. When none came, the decision was made to send special teams to board the vessel and finally get some answers. What they got, instead, were more questions.
The aliens inside were malnourished, unhealthy and their intelligence appeared to be below that of most humans. Labeled “prawns” due to their appearance, the aliens were removed from the ship and placed into a temporary encampment known as District 9, which has rapidly deteriorated into an outright slum. Enter Wikus van der Merwe, a seemingly naive yet (mostly) likeable fellow employed with Multinational United (M.N.U.), the pseudo-U.N. organization tasked with handling the prawns. He’s just received a promotion and is ordered to relocate the prawns to a newer camp set up in an area more isolated from humanity.
While the scope of “District 9” seems initially epic, the film  follows a very focused tale centered on Wikus and an alien known as Christopher. As the story unfolds, the development of these characters is outstanding – particularly for an action-oriented film. A lesser film would’ve transformed Wikus into a more compassionate person as the events transpired, perhaps even culiminating into some sort of freedom fighter for the prawns. With this film, however, we’re finally presented with a very real, very flawed character.
Wikus is a largely  self-serving individual, whereas Christopher is a more  humane character.
The documentary format in which the film is shot is a phenomenal aspect and one which is original and innovative, and combines nicely with the action movie style.                                                                                The polarizing opinions and wildly diverse interpretations of this film are precisely what makes it brilliant. It’s been labeled as both a compelling allegory of apartheid and of the Iraqi war, it’s been accused of somehow being a ‘racist’ film, while somesee it as violently offensive rubbish. The film does not provide answers and solutions, but rather allows the viewer to see that there are no viable solutions.

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Filed under Drama, Movie Review

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