District 9

9/10

Neill Blomkampf’s recreation of his short film is a welcome vehicle into the science-fiction genre; alongside Duncan Jones’ Moon, the sci-fi genre has been replenished. The action is rewarding enough for mainstream audiences, but political punch beneath the core makes District 9 Academy-notable. Peter Jackson produced the film, obviously helping to bring the Director into the public’s eye.

The plot centers around an alien ship landing before South-Africa, hovering, while its occupants, called Pawns, live among the slum of the city, stealing and eating out of dumpsters. They must share their quarters with opportunistic, but unfairly subjected Africans who make a trade out of the pawn’s stay: making replica guns and giving them cat-food to keep them away, which they apparently love. A metaphor for apartheid, the film discovers new ground in the aliens come to earth niche, not even showing their arrival but instead focusing on the panic of their transient residence. By doing this, It creates a temporary piece in time, fresh and prepared to look at and analyze, instead of a timeline that just skips over the surface.

The film stars Sharlto Copley as a human agent investigating the affairs and hygiene of the District 9 alien-grounds. When he enters a slum-house haphazardly and grabs a cylindrical object, it sprays a black substance on him and slowly turns him into a pawn himself. It couples a real emotional element whem Wikus comes to want his wife-even though with his oncoming disfigurement, she can barely speak to him without a breakdown from lack of recognition. Forced to live in a trash-gang among the Pawns, he creates a relationship with one of them and discovers what they need to leave, and this is rare. Usually, the alien is feared, tested, or turned against us: but what of a movie where a connection is made? It is shown here with great results, even if the words and gesture is not recognizable.

District 9 is not without some breathtaking action scenes, with the usual tough-guy commander wielding a robot-suit similar to what Ridley used in Aliens. Their are real-time news coverage spliced into the film, like what was done in his original short film that Peter Jackson saw as unique, it creates an intellectual breakdown of aliens landing on earth and the impact on society. Like director Duncan Jones and his debut film “Moon” this provides a glimpse of a young director with a future.  The film is versatile, unique, and memorable: a science-fiction movie that shouldn’t be missed.

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