Used as a metaphor for Apartheid, District 9 was an award winning South African Science Fiction thriller from debuting director Neil Blomkamp. It starred Sharlto Coplay in his breakthrough as a man who became infected with alien DNA, becoming a fugitive as a result. Likewise, it also starred Jason Cope as the leader of the aliens (among other roles) and David James as the leader of a paramilitary unit sent to track down Coplay’s character.
The movie began, documentary style, with various characters being interviewed about the alien residents of Johannesburg (going from a feeling of pity to a feeling of hate in the process). This lead to a group called the MNU trying to relocate the aliens to another district away from town, led by man named Wikus who subsequently got sprayed in the face by some alien DNA. He fell sick shortly after, only to discover his DNA had been combined with the humans. This effectively turned him in to a fugitive. And he subsequently gained the ire of not just his old boss, but also a local Nigerian gang. Likewise, he also befriended an alien who made a deal to help him get cured and to help the aliens escape. A suicide mission followed, leading to the climax of the movie.
Now I know some people may not like the documentary style of the movie, but it served its purposed. It helped drive the director’s point home, as well as providing a bit of narration. But beyond that, there’s not really much to say. The acting was very good, especially in the performance of Coplay. And both the directing and cinematography were competent, if nothing spectacular. Also, the special effects were exceptionally good considering the small budget. But nothing was really the best of the year. Rather, everything clicked.
Everything stuck together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, effectively turning this movie into one of the best movies of the year. Unfortunately, it lay in the shadow of another great movie called Avatar (since they were released at about the same time and both were nominated for the academy award). But that’s a damn shame; for District 9 was the better movie. Sure, Avatar had phenomenal special effects (a James Cameron trademark) and very good cinematography. Essentially, it was just pretty to look at. But District 9 had the one thing that Avatar lacked-a well written and intelligent story.
I can’t wait for the director’s next movie, Elysium.