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District 9

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:08 pm
by Remo D
Well, talk about your misleading ad campaigns! I normally tell you "you've seen the trailer, so you know the drill," but not this time. The centerpiece of the ad? The interrogation in which the alien pleads "We just want to go home?" That's not in the movie. The blurb "WHY DON'T WE LET THEM LEAVE?" False. We'd LOVE for them to just pack up and go, but they CAN'T. So we're just going to get them out of OUR backyard by force. Then again, if the ad campaign had been more honest, people might not have been as keen to see this. And they'd be sorry. So, is this an act of deception or a stroke of genius? It seems to be working.

I've also got to mention a staggeringly superficial review I read in a local paper. The reviewer figures out that the movie is an ALLEGORY for the world history of ethnically-motivated human rights abuse! See, it takes place in South Africa, and there was apartheid there, but the metaphor is relevant to the REST of the world, too! CONGRATULATIONS! He also goes on to point out that uneasy human/alien assimilation took place in ALIEN NATION and that an alliance of necessity happened in ENEMY MINE. So there you go! Just brush up on your 80s sci-fi and you'll have no reason to see DISTRICT 9!

Bollocks. NONE of this prepared me for the film that actually unspooled (though the comparison to Cronenberg's THE FLY was, indeed, spot-on).

Assigned to head the clean-up mission is Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley, heading a cast of names completely unknown in America--bravo on selling the movie ITSELF for a change!), introduced as the smarmiest, most contemptible toff ever to run roughshod over a community in the name of "authority" (with plenty of armed backup, of course). Others supply the firepower, but it's Wikus who shocks you with his antics (in one unforgettable sequence, he has an alien nest torched and delights in describing the popcorn-like reaction of the eggs inside the shed) until a foolish accident forces him to rethink his attitude (not to mention relinquish his authority).

Neil Blomkamp treats this largely as a documentary, but the perspective isn't limited to that of Wikus' camera crew, nor is any formal editing arrangement announced as part of the movie. Nevertheless, the "you are there" approach is constantly absorbing and in-your-face--you're thrust right into the most unimaginable squalor throughout. Not only must you witness the living conditions of the alien "prawns" in their soon to be ex-slum, but you're also there to see the interactions of the locals (catfood pushers, meat scavengers, arms dealers and even a voodoo contingent)--it's all hot, sticky, gritty and horrendous. And if that's not enough, you're there with Wikus as the nature of his service to his government undergoes some drastic reshaping.

Some complained that the film became too violent and relied too much on "action" as it drew to a climax... personally, I don't see any other way it could have gone. Violence isn't there for the sake of entertainment--it's there because it's completely inevitable. There's very little time wasted on "Whoa, did you see THAT?" gore effects, but nobody's going to note a lack of splatter, either.

"Getting the message" is the least you can achieve when it comes to DISTRICT 9. You've got to follow it through all the way to the end.

Just like David Cronenberg said. More than once.

Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:31 pm
by Angie Decay
I thought it was a pretty good movie may I add. Definately had a good story line.

Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:50 pm
by Chris Slack
I liked it enough to see it twice. Great stuff!

Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:02 pm
by AchimbaProphet
It was an excellent movie which surpassed all of my expectations.

Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:25 pm
by MuC
awesome movie...definatly gonna see it again...

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:17 pm
by Drew
Fuckin kick ass, cant wait til Dist 10 when Christopher and son bring an army back!!!