Last night we finally got around to watching District 9. We put it in late, intending to only watch 30 minutes. Mistake. I went to bed hours past my bedtime. I gotta be honest, this was probably the most original and creative movie I’ve seen since Adaptation or Memento. Keep in mind, too, even though I’m a software guy I’m not a sci-fi freak.
Let’s put all allegory or political message aside for a second. The premise of an alien mothership stranded over a city is a novel one. Wikus van de Merwe, the human protagonist, is completely unusual (yet believable) and gives new meaning to the phrase ‘character transformation’. The script was intricate, compelling, unpredictable, and heart-wrenching.
You know how in Star Wars or Star Trek when aliens talk it sounds like they’re speaking Chinese or Russian? The alien language in District 9 is like nothing you’ve ever heard. And the way humans talk about the creatures, referring to them as “prawns”, combined with pseudo media footage and documentary style interviews, lend a sense of natural believability to the film. The realism adds to the intensity of the movie.
District 9 is not for the squeamish, and definitely not for kids. Some of the scenes are disturbing both graphically and emotionally. But it’s movie making at its finest and will stick with you for days.
NOTE: Finally, great movies this year: Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Up, This is It, Inglorious Basterds, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (most underrated film of 2009, by the way). After a lackluster decade where movies like Crash, Chicago, Slumdog Millionaire, and No Country for Old Men won Oscars for Best Picture, let’s hope Hollywood is back on track.
ANOTHER NOTE: I suggest watching it with subtitles. I couldn’t understand what the hell the South Africans were saying, even though it was English.