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Movies: District 9

Movies - 24 August 2009 12:00 AM | Updated 10:32 AM

Movies: District 9

District 9

Classification: M18
Genre: Action / Science Fiction
General Release Date: 14 Aug 2009
Running Time: 1 Hour 52 Minutes,
Distributor: Cathay-keris Films
Cast: Kenneth Nkosi, Robert Hobbs, Sharlto Copley, William Allen Young
Director: Neill Blomkamp

Set in South Africa, this movie is rumoured to be a "Cloverfield"-type sci-fi about an extraterrestrial race that is forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth and suddenly finds a friend in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology. Alien spacecrafts are seen hovering over many locations, interrupting daily human lives and raising concerns from the residents of the area. This film is also said to be a sort of social commentary, diverging from what you would usually expect from films featuring aliens.

Watch this if you liked: "Dark City", "Cloverfield", "28 Days Later"

Forget "Cloverfield". Catfood-chomping aliens, inter-species prostitutes, gangland riots and a hard-hitting, nail-biting (literally) lead performance from a guy who isn't even a professional actor - that's what makes Peter Jackson's "District 9" the thinking man's action movie of the decade.
Who would've thought that when the game-to-movie "Halo" project fell through, the "Lord Of The Rings" strongman producer could get a white African man's short film project turned into something so rewarding? You would've read by now that director Neill Blomkamp's days in apartheid South Africa are what inspired this novel sci-fi idea. It's precisely the sort of R-rated docudrama with exceptional CGI that makes you feel guilty for endorsing "Transformers".

In the heavily-marketed "District 9", we are taken to an alternate Earth where real-life immigration issues deceptively underpin a story about prawn-like aliens that are stranded on our planet with nowhere to go. Unlike other alien movies like "ID4", they aren't exactly hostile but behave more like frustrated refugees who make their own wasteland settlement and suffer from sanitation problems. The movie is narrated through a shaky "Blair Witch Project" account of Wikus Van De Merwe, a gawky government aide who turns from law-abiding family man to one-armed national traitor when he is exposed to alien fluid that changes his DNA.

While the issue of second-class citizenship appeals to a more academic crowd, don't be fooled into thinking this is a dry social commentary meant for stiff fortysomethings. When lead actor Sharlto Copley steps into a robot suit to pursue justice, we are taken 30 years back to when Sigourney Weaver did the same and kicked alien ass in the celebrated landmark movie "Alien". The feeling is even greater considering that we are rooting for a hero who isn't exactly a likeable fellow!

"District 9" is a sentimental sci-fi about how ordinary men (or aliens, for that matter) end up doing extraordinary things when pushed to the edge, exposing the global hypocrisy of having set right and wrong in legal or moral terms. There are "CJ7" father-son moments in this movie, together with the character struggle of a pasty-faced pencil-pusher who just wants to see his wife again. If this doesn't force you to reconsider how we treat foreigners, then let's all pray for Peter Jackson and a "District 10".

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