District 9

15 08 2009

At some point during the film, I’m not exactly sure when, I was struck by how so many elements were similar to that of the multitude of alien shooter games/movies out there. The difference was that District 9 was much more than your typical action experience, particularly in the story department. Firstly the main character is extremely well acted playing the role of a character no one would ever expect to be a hero. In many ways he never becomes the hero but his quirkiness and drive to survive keeps him likeable. To the films benefit Neil Blokamp(co-writer/director) never explicitly states a clear good or bad side although it is certainly implied with MNU and the alien refugees respectively. The main character quickly becomes stuck between these two factions but Nigerian gangs and a more violent military arm off MNU keeps everything balanced. Normally the evil villain here would be the heads of the MNU company trying to use the protagonist but the film never puts the “evil villain” focus on them. This keeps thing interesting and fresh because it strays from the typical path you’ve seen all these films take. You aren’t sure where the film is going so you remain engrossed in the film wondering what is going to happen.

Documentary style interviews are used near the beginning and ending of the film and offer a great outlet for information rather than having a stereotypical team of private contractors talking about it. Key information is never explicity stated and then put directly to use. Instead information you learn at one point doesn’t make sense until a later part of the film making the viewer seem like a genius. This is simply the mark of a well made film but I found the release of information to the viewer handled very well. Thankfully the film avoids the cliche of having the aliens perform some huge uprising. Regardless of any political points of view made to Africa over the alien refugees it’s most certainly an original point of view. Although there are a few stereotypical emotional moments put in they work fairly well as Neil never dwells on them for more than they deserve. I was happily surprised to see the story spend time from the aliens point of view and even then from the point of an alien cast in a friendly light.

The weapons and special effects look great. The pacing switches to suspense when the action sits down for a breather always keeping things moving. I’ve been looking forward to this film for a while and was not disappointed. I can’t see everyone enjoying this film as much as I do but I thrive off films that don’t do what you expect. Most people like to stay in their comfort zone and may be confused why the aliens aren’t fighting the MNU but that’s the point. Come on District 10!

score: 95%
| metacritic: 81

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