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District 9

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I must admit, I had an inkling that I'd be seeing this film on the big screen pretty much as soon as I saw the first trailer (and I'm not a big-screen nut, so that certainly says something). After coming out of there earlier today, I have to say that I'm certainly glad I did.


The quick summary of my opinions for those not all that interested in trawling through the rest of the post: the film has a large portion shot as if from a TV camera (or other cameras, such as CCTV), which gave a definite feel of Cloverfield without being too close of an idea to feel like a copy. It's essentially a documentary about some events that happened concerning a district in Johannesburg that was selected to be the home a race of aliens that ended up on Earth. Without delving in to the plot too much, it's not too easy to say much more about the events of the film so much as the style and message that it conveyed to me.




The alien species are nicknamed (in a derogatory way) "prawns" for their resemblance to the animals of the same name. The film gives a bit of background as to how the Prawns came to Earth and the events that followed to get us up to speed for the main events, but essentially riots and general public disapproval meant that they had to be separated for both their and the public's protection.


The district they live in (District 9) is a slum, a great mass of sprawling shacks and junk that the million or so creatures call home. The lives they live are brutal, certainly not dissimilar in many ways to how slum-life is viewed today. The fact that the whole setting is in South Africa is actually quite poignant if you consider the concept of racial (or, in this case, species) segregation that exists today. Interestingly, by having a common "enemy" to unite against there is virtually no reference or suggestion of racial conflict at all seen in the film, but is certainly a stark reminder that the aliens are viewed as one step lower in the food chain, and therefore can be treated as such.


Ignoring the main character, who the documentary revolves around, I found the actions of those around him far more interesting (though don't get me wrong, the acting is certainly entertaining and in-character, and I have to confess that I found the near constant swearing in a South African accent later in the film hilarious). The government that seems to treat the Prawns as research subjects, to be tested on and their technology exploited. The emotionless faces of so many of the authority figures (or, in some cases, faces of loathing) when dealing harshly with the aliens left a vivid image in my mind, and one of those that stand out as being a clear theme throughout the film.


One thing I should point out is the level of "gore" present in the film. Not for the squeamish, there's plenty of body bits flying and being ripped apart that does make me wonder at the calibre of the negotiations by those trying to get the film to be a 15. Top notch work, right there, that one will definitely look good on their CVs.


I can't possibly convey the true extent of some of the events and messages in the film, but even if you're not in to political themes or ethics and so on then it's certainly worth a watch just for some of the effects. The graphics involved incorporate the alien creatures seamlessly, which is quite a feat considering the amount of light around (most noticeably daylight) unlike a lot of dark sci-fi films that are all too common.


One film I'll most certainly be getting on DVD (special edition, as I've no doubt they'll be doing) soon after it comes out, and one that I'd recommend is watched by any movie fanatic. It makes one heck of a conversation topic afterwards, if nothing else!

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