After a government agent is exposed to alien biotechnology, he must
help an alien tenant escape the slums and get them back to his ship.
District 9 (2009)
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Starring Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James,
Vanessa Haywood, Louis Minnaar
Remake of the 2005 short film Alive in Joburg
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects
District 9 was the feature film debut from director Neill Blomkamp and actor Sharlto Copley, both of whom knocked it out of the park. Blomkamp gives us a movie with a riveting story soaked in social commentary, while Copley gives a great performance as the lead character. The film is also backed by some truly impressive CGI effects for the aliens and a bombastic, action packed conclusion. A great start for a first time director.
The movie tells a relatively simple story of aliens stranded on Earth who are forced to live in slum-like camps. A government agent, Wikus van de Merwe, is sent in to help out with the relocation of the aliens to District 10. He is soon exposed to alien biotechnology and starts transforming into one. He now must use the aliens' help to change himself back and get them home. While the story alone is engaging, the social commentary makes it work even more. The racism towards the aliens, even using a derogatory term like Prawns, is a great insight into how we treat people differently based off looks alone. The film also features stellar looking CGI, with the aliens looking and acting believably. The cast is mainly lead by Sharlto Copley's character, the aforementioned Wikus. While Copley does an excellent job, my only gripe was that his character could be overly selfish at times, leading to many frustrating moments. Aside from that, I generally cared about the struggles his character was going through.
District 9 was a pleasant surprise for many. A smart sic-fi film featuring great action scenes lead to one the year's better movies. It, rightfully, launched the careers of Sharlto Copley and Neill Blomkamp with it. I still really enjoy this movie and consider it to be one of the better modern sci-fi films.