District 9 is a part documentation, a part news reel, and a whole of awesomeness. That’s as close as I could came up with if asked to describe this film in a single sentence. This film is rated R. Some scenes are horrible to watch and more than once people are killed in extreme fashion. If you’re parents and you decided to take your kids into this film, then I loathe you, doesn’t matter if you’re my friend on a first-name basis, I will still *fucking* loathe you. Be responsible in parenting, please.
Twenty years ago, an alien mothership that housed million of bipedal creatures known to men from there on as “prawns” came and hovering above Johannesburg. Not until years later, did human step into the ship. No shades of light nor fanfare from heaven, what they found instead is millions of alien, sick and miserable. An operation soon undergone to transport these aliens to the ground, put them in a specific area designated to be their “home” under the name, “District 9.”
Twenty years later, District 9 turned into a slum. The surrounding area was fenced, and if humans decided to enter the area, they were armed, cocked and ready to fire while another heavily armed soldiers circling the perimeter from above with choppers. Further, even if the prawns and humans could establish a proper two-way communication, they refused to use a communal single language. The prawns were shown that they have some sort of expertise in aliens technology beyond the grasp of recent human technologies. However, they were either that gullible or simply peace-loving races that the idea of hurting living being is something they wouldn’t have any concept of. Of course, humans are interested in these technologies and they meant to learn and if possible, acquire them with any means necessary. One of their effort was to relocate “District 9” into a smaller area hundreds of kilometer away. Enter the recently promoted Wilkus Van De Merwe. He has to handle the relocation operation, and soon the situation goes beyond his control, and Wilkus will soon received a rude awakening to his worst nightmare.
The overall material of this film is bleak, unsettling, and its script have so many options to chose to develop from (I had a great time trying to figure which part of the story that would get developed next). This is a film where you won’t cheered and applauded with its presentation of shoot-outs and action sequences although they’re quite abundant and correctly choreographed (example of incorrect action choreography: Michael Bay’s Transformers films).
The film begins with a news-reel, a documentation-style that reminds me a lot to “Cloverfield” which immediately put its audience into a serious, thought-provoked mode attitude which will last for 112 minutes. You wouldn’t want to leave for bathroom break, believe me. There is no clear protagonist in the film until halfway of the film and in the end, we’re faced and left with probably a different allegiance to what’s wrong and what’s right from what you have in the first minute. This, my friend, is a superior film in the respect of changing your perspective and Mr.Blompkamp, a first-time director who would surely get noticed after this film, expertly re-aligns this perspective with a proper use of the aforementioned news-reel and documentation-style that obscured any hint of Mr.Blomkamp’s intention to drive your thought and sympathy.
My favorite part of this film is the operation room scene where a doctor talk about examining, exhuming, and finally harvesting organs from a patient who happens to be awake and could comprehend his every words and intention. He did so with no regards whatsoever to the patient’s protests and squeals. The scene was disturbing and terrifying, all at once. This film has numerous other similar themed scenes, theme that says that humans, are mostly corrupt with power and greed given chance. Even so, in essence, humans still have the ability to show compassion and empathy toward others less fortunate. If we chose to show them, that is.
My rating: ***1/2 / **** Neil Blompkamp is a South Africaner. On more than one occasion, I had in mind that this film in many parts are inspired by the apartheid-era events in South Africa which I had reasons to believe that Mr.Blommkamp has some first-hand experiences. All in all, this is a sci-film at its best. Thought-provoking, gripping, and unsettling. Wonders why we need eighteen Constructicons for Devastator battling against two over-hyped twin robots if one simple humanoid robot against a simple military equipment (standard rifle and bullets) could generate tensions in many folds? On final note, although unnecessary, if you asked me, the sequel of this film should arrive in three years and until that time, I’ll be impatiently waiting.