Sunday, 6 September 2009

Film Review: DISTRICT 9 (2009)

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Running time: 112 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Watched at the cinema Saturday 5th September 2009.


District 9 is a very interesting film, made, for the most part, in the style of a documentary, it documents the attempts of a private company to evict and re-locate alien beings from a district of Johannesburg. The aliens had arrived 20 years earlier in a giant spaceship the hovered above the ghetto they now occupied. Known by the locals as ‘Prawns’, because of their appearance, they are, for the most part, not very intelligent. MNU, the company trying to re-locate them are interested in getting hold of their technology, particularly weaponry, which can only be fired by the aliens because it is linked to their DNA. Another faction interested in their weapons is a gang of Nigerians who live in the camp selling them food and generally ripping them off.

The film follows the fortunes of Wikus Van De Merwe who has been selected to lead the operation to evict the aliens. We start in the style of a documentary, following him as he begins to go around the camp getting the ‘Prawns’ to sign eviction notices. A large and well armed military force; lead by Koobus Venter (I think) is also employed as security for the operation. An accident with a piece of alien technology leaves Wikus injured. He ends up in hospital only to find that his arm has changed into that of an alien. In fact his whole body is changing. He is kidnapped by MNU and forced by MNU scientists into firing alien weapons at ‘Prawns’ they have been experimenting on. They decide to kill Wikus in order to discover the secret of the change in his DNA. Wikus escapes and hides in District 9 where he meets ‘Christopher’, the alien responsible for building the device that changed him. They must retrieve the device so that ‘Christopher’ can get home and that Wikus can be cured.

A really interesting film, I particularly liked the way the action switched between the documentary style to news footage and back again. The sets and the CGI were all excellent, hats off to the production team and the director. A brilliant performance from Sharlto Copley as Wikus Van De Merwe, I really didn’t like his character at first, but, as we discover, he’s not as bad as he first seems. Honourable mentions also go to David James as Koobus Venter and Vanessa Haywood as Tania Van De Merwe, Wikus’s wife. Over all, a really excellent film with plenty of action, great performances and a decent story. I really hope they make a sequel, the way it ended (which I’m not going to give away) left it open for one!

My score: 9/10

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