16 August, 2009

Movie Review: District 9

I have been following the hype surrounding District 9 for quite a while now. From the release of the new District 9 poster to the exemplary viral marketing campaign, I was a fan before there was even a decent trailer out there. Generally, this leads to high expectations and a poor movie going experience. It may be hard to believe, but Mr. Blomkamp managed to pleasantly surprise me, giving to movie watchers everywhere a revealing look at human nature, and managing to throw some pretty wicked looking aliens into the mix.

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.

6 comments:

PeterWilliam said...

I loved the gizmo/geek elements, but had a different reaction to the film.

ediFanoB said...

I read this review and I read PeterWilliam's reaction.

Two people, two different reactions. That sounds really human. But I think it is impossible to add an appropriate reply without knowing the movie.

I live in Germany and I have to wait until 22nd of October which is the German release date.

One thing I know for sure I must definitely see this movie.

And thank you to PeterWilliam for teaching me a new word: Apolaustic

PeterWilliam said...

No problem. My wife actually expresses, regularly, a desire for me to simplify my vocabulary. Her main criticism is that I sound pretentious. I told her I don't care how people take it and that opinions are like rectal orifices: everyone has one and, if close enough, they stink. :O

ediFanoB said...

@PeterWilliam,

it makes a difference whether you express your opinion in your first language or a foreign language.

It is up to you whether you sound pretentious or not. But you should take in consideration that most people don't to like to exchange opinions with pretentious people.
And who likes to share opinions with oneself - except you have split personality.

Jam said...

I'm definitely looking forward to watching this.

Sean Weatherby said...

That new lead actor they found for District 9 did an amazing job i thought - huge character transition through the course of the movie; sometimes it's nice to see some new faces and that was definitely the case with this movie