District 9

8 09 2009

District 9 Film Poster

Release: Friday 28 August 2009
Running Time:
111 minutes
Age Restriction:
10 (Language, Violence)
Website: Official site, IMDB

If you have been hiding in a cave or wherever you go that doesn’t let you access news or any hype of any kind, let me break down what District 9 is. It’s a South African directed movie, based in Johannesburg, about a group of aliens that get stranded on Earth and are put into a special district for them that quickly degenerates into a slum. Now, in an eerie mirror of real life forced evictions, the aliens must be moved into a new area specially built for them, and that’s when things get interesting…

Ok now you know the basic premise of the movie. I suppose it doesn’t sound like much when it’s all in black and white like that, but really it’s quite a powerful movie. Interspersed with interviews of experts, the story is told of how the aliens arrived on Earth, how they got stuck and what we know about them. The story then shifts onto Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley) who has just been appointed head of the operation to evict the aliens from District 9, where they are living in squalor.

Seriously though, this movie has it all. From moments of comedy from the seemingly inept and well-mannered Wikus (some of the more memorable quotes and moments had me laughing out loud), to deep introspective moments where you think to yourself “wow, mankind really is the worst”. Just little details that have been added, like the aliens all been given easy-to-pronounce human names like the black people were given during Apartheid, or the way the aliens are treated in general (called Prawns, abused, no effort made to relate to them). It really made me think.

In addition to the comedy and introspective moments mentioned above, District 9 also had action scenes and tearjerkers. I won’t spoil the tearjerkers, but let’s just say the action involves some pretty sweet alien weaponry and a giant mech.

I think everybody should go see District 9, if only to see what all the fuss is about. You’ll either love it or hate it, but chances are you will love it. I did. 10/10.

And now, some bonus facts about the movie that you may not know.

  • A single actor (Jason Cope) played all the Prawns in the movie.
  • Most of the dialogue in the shack eviction sequence was improvised between Cope and Copley
  • The alien shacks featured are actual shacks that actual people had recently been evicted from.
  • The film is based on director Neil Blomkamp’s short film “Alive In Joburg

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