Director: Neill Blomkamp
“District 9 is a smart political allegory that puts emotion, humour, and incredible visuals to fluid and accomplished use.” (913, Steven Jay Schneider, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die) District 9 was an interesting movie for me to watch, not just because the visual effects are really quite brilliant, but because it was a film that made me somewhat ashamed to be part of the human race. And now since finding out that “[t]his acclaimed science-fiction invasion thriller was inspired by events that took place in District Six, Cape Town, during apartheid.” (913) I feel even more disgusted with what people are capable of. It’s kind of a palpable feeling for me when I watched District 9 – humans do not come out well in this film. I have way more empathy for the ‘Prawns’, as the aliens are known.
“Documentary-style filmmaking gives the movie an air of authenticity that helps the audience connect on a human level with the plight of the alien population. As our hero Wikus is infected with a disease and slowly starts to turn alien himself, our empathy grows.” (913) I hope that Wikus, and his plight, resonates with some viewers. Wikus starts out as an officious government official in a relatively low level job who is given the unpleasant task of relocating, forcibly, the population of Prawns residing in District 9, and rather than see the inherent issues with this he is proud of his role and the responsibility that has been afforded him. And then it all goes wrong and Wikus begins to understand, first hand, how his close-mindedness has a direct impact on an entire race of sentient beings.
District 9 is a wonderfully subtle commentary of the fallible nature of us as humans and the seemingly ingrained distrust of anyone or thing that looks different to us. I definitely came away from watching District 9 with a renewed sense of how important it is to look past any surface differences and try and see things from every side before coming to any sort of conclusion. The only criticism I have of District 9 is that it is much too long for the story it is telling. However I would definitely suggest watching it.