Those of you familiar with the history of South Africa will instantly want to view the movie through the optic of apartheid. The jovial atmosphere and light tone of the first ten minutes of the movie underscore a brutal reality of oppression and racism. Well, I guess that in this case it would be xenophobia. The friendly and slightly silly mannerisms of the protagonist lull the audience into accepting the terrible treatment of the aliens as somehow OK. While the first ten minutes of the movie serve to dehumanize the aliens, the rest of the movie slowly reverses the process, bringing with it a certain cathartic release. To say that Mr. Blomkamp was able to make me feel ashamed of being human might be a slight exaggeration, but only slight.
To be sure, the science fiction fan in you will appreciate all the geeky wonderfulness of District 9. From the aliens to the pulse blasters and the awesome mechanized battle-suit, you will not be disappointed. The gritty realism of the movie serves as a perfect backdrop for both social commentary and futuristic gismos. What the movie lacks in big budget pyrotechnics and gratuitous violence it easily makes up for by being, well, awesome. The subtle blend of documentary style footage and traditional blockbuster shots gives the whole experience an undeniable realism that leaves one with a lasting and meaningful impression.
I loved District 9 and wasn't bored for a minute, but I am still having some difficulty shaking that guilty feeling... I think it might come from the fact the the aliens are referred to as "prawns", a derogatory racial slur, but we are never given another name to call them by.