Sunday, August 16, 2009

District 9

Movie name: District 9
Year of release: 2009
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Bolt, Vanessa Haywood, John Summer
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Synopsis:"District 9" is Neill Blomkamp's first feature, following some shorts (one of which was the base for this film). Blomkamp was initially going to direct the feature "Halo", but after that collapsed, he focused on "District 9" with the help of Academy Award winning director Peter Jackson. The film has an interesting premise: an alien ship comes to Earth and hovers in Johannesburg. When the humans go and investigate the contents of the ship, they find a huge number of aliens in poor conditions, upon which they are brought to Earth to a compartiment that soon becomes a ghetto (the aliens are kept in that area for 20 years and counting). With high interests from huge corporations (particularly arms manufacturers) in tapping into the alien technology, plans develop to move the aliens to a new compound, due to the riots and social discomfort that has grown. To supervise this plan, MNU, the main company delegates those efforts to Wikus Van de Merwe. What follows is a close approach of what his actions create and what the life of the Aliens on Earth is like. "District 9" is a very well done film, that intelligently mixes sci-fi elements with a political stance that is a metaphor for so much of what human history is about. It's very interesting that for a film that takes place in South Africa, where Apartheid lasted for so long, we have again the same kind of treatment for another minority. Blomkamp uses the "documentary" style to show the poor conditions and showcase the assimilation of the Aliens to the slums of the city. The film is smartly conceived, never creating the feeling that the situation is too offbeat or surreal - Blomkamp tries to retain a sense of reality and closeness to our own current events and political turmoils. A very good first effort and a film worth checking out.