Brian’s Review – “District 9” (2009)

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What’s it About?

An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.

“District 9”

Directed by Neill Blomkamp

10 out of 10

By Brian

I was starting to feel a little down about the science fiction genre.  Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay films will do that to you.  “Transformers “and “Transformers 2” are two of the worst pieces of shit I have ever seen in my life (Why did I watch the second?  I still don’t know).  I was feeling down.  Was this where science fiction was going?  Brainless directing mixed with sub par acting and non-existent stories?

Well, out of nowhere came “District 9” from director Neil Bloomkamp (Elysium).  This film is flat out the most impressive science fiction film of the decade.  It’s the best since 1999’s Matrix and just as ground breaking.We are given a situation that is completely believable.  Aliens have arrived from their dying home world in a spaceship hovering over Johannesburg. 

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The government, tired of taking care of them, decides to evict them to a new camp where they will be out of their jurisdiction and no longer their financial burden.  Sounds a lot like what’s going on in South Western United States right?The plot weaves to a satisfying conclusion through special effects that are more believable than “special” as well as acting and real relationships of co-dependence that hit all the right notes

In Blomkamp’s District 9, we see a new apartheid. The camp, located in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a brilliant stroke. We see how quickly people can turn against the new group. The black Africans protest to remove the alien inhibitors, but against UN sanctions and international pressure, South Africa hosts the aliens — albeit in a deplorable ghetto.

The movie is carried by Sharlto Copley (Europa Reprt, Shallow Grave, Elysium), who plays Wikus Van De Merwe, a wimpy man who works for a private company hired to move the aliens to a new location. He is sprayed with an alien mist and starts to become one of them — a concept that could have been extremely cheesy in the wrong hands. But Copley maintains humanity and vulnerability in his character. We feel for him as he loses everything he had — his family, job, and home.

This film intelligently discusses racism, corporate and political corruption, and war mongering, wrapped in a science-fiction film that has dialogue and action that is wise and smooth. Kubrick would have loved this movie.

 I absolutely loved this films’ originality and wit.  Note to hack filmmakers such as the ones I mentioned above: THIS is how you do a sci-fi film that doesn’t insult the intelligence of your audience.

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14 comments

  1. I wasn’t initially looking forward to this but when I saw it on the big screen i was blown away by it. It was quite an emotional experience too, esp towards the end as we saw Wikus’ transformation. Sharlto Copley’s phenomenal despite his lack of acting experience. Too bad Elysium didn’t live up to this one.

    • Yeah, Tim made the same observation. I actually thought Copley was the best thing about “Elysium” but it was all so underwhelming when it was over. Too bad. D9 was such a well done and nuanced sci fi thriller that was indeed emotional like you mentioned. That aspect of it really surprised me.

      Thanks for checking out Brian’s review, Ruth! Always great to hear from you! 🙂

  2. I actually get pissed when my girlfriend talks about how this is one of the worst movies that she has ever seen and that she walked out of the theater. Such awful movie taste…..

    ….because this is damn good on every single level!

    • LOL, too funny! Yeah, this movie rules. Brian has made me want to re-watch this one again asap. I loved the story and how real the material came across so authentically. Too bad that “Elysium” was such a let down. That flick had potential. Hope to see a sequel to D9 very soon. That would be killer.

      Thanks for checking out Brian’s review, Louie. I appreciate it bro!

    • Yeah, I would also love to see that sequel but it may not be in the cards. Too bad. Especially since Elysium was so meh. They should have just did the sequel other that mess. Oh well. Thanks for checking in and reading Brian’s review! I appreciate it.

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