movie reviews

District 9

In originally published this on another blog in September 2009.

In one word: Mind-blowing.

Disctrict-9 is set in Johannesburg, South Africa and asks this question: What if illegal aliens were actual aliens form another planet?

An alien ship has been stranded above Johannesburg for the past 2 decades. The aliens have been living in squatter camps. MNU (Multinational United) the task-force in charge of alien affairs has to move the “prawns”(as they are derogatorily nicknamed) to a new camp, further segregating them from the humans. MNU sends team leader Wikus and his crew to serve eviction notices. A chance encounter throws Wikus’ world into upheaval and sends him running for his life. D9 is visually spectacular and includes documentary style footage.

It is packed with action, adventure and suspense. There is a strong human element, showing how cruel human beings can be, which is underlined beautifully by the soundtrack. The sound editing enhances the overall effect of the movie very well. The story line is gripping and satirizes issues both historic (apartheid) and contemporary (xenophobia). It also mocks the bravado and arrogance that most soldiers seem to have when physically dealing with “the enemy”.

The movie has a heavy political undercurrent, but it is in no way obtrusive. D9 can be enjoyed by almost anyone, even if they have zero interest in politics. Laden with dark humour, some of the one-liners are hilarious. Perhaps the Afrikaans accents made them even funnier. There many gross out moments (not toilet humour) and you probably won’t feel like eating right afterwards, especially not a piece of meat.

Disctrict 9 is completely different from any movie ever shot in South Africa. Despite the international investors and the New Zealand producer (Peter Jackson –  Lord of the Rings), the movie is very local. The movie has an all South-African cast and introduces Sharlto Copley, as Wikus.

Copley who was born in 1973, is also a producer and has co-written and co-directed a movie called Spoon. The director of D9, Neil Bromkamp was born in Johannesberg in 1979 and graduated from Vancouver Film School (Canada) in 1998. Bromkamp co-wrote the screenplay with Terri Tatchell, another Vancouver film school graduate.

Favourite moment: Wikus gives an alien child a piece of candy… and the child throws it back at him.

For a list of the cast and crew visit IMDB.



©lowercase v  2009


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