Most of us reading this review have had prior exposure to racism and have been educated on tolerance. The others amongst us, who are not as fortunate, have to deal with institutions which have been put in place to control and safeguard basic human values like compassion. As a result, most of the civilized world enjoys the peaceful co-existence of its communities.
But what if for some bizarre reason, a certain community falls out of the purview of all these institutions and even our own morality? What if we are not obliged to offer the very basic human decency to this group?
District 9 puts forward this very question in this very intelligent satire which has so much to it that you will probably want to see it more than once!
The story of this movie is located in Johannesburg, South Africa, where an alien spaceship suddenly appears. But for some reason the ship just keeps hovering over the city for over two months without any communication or any noticeable action. As a result, Human forces break into the ship to figure out the bizarre situation; only to discover that the ship is filled with aliens in a desperate condition. Under international pressure, the South African government sets up a refugee camp to give asylum to these aliens. This camp soon turns into a slum and gets the name of ‘District 9’.
The inmates of this camp are not welcomed by the locals, and are soon subject to xenophobia and ‘speciesism’. As a result, the local government decides to move the entire alien population outside the city to ‘District 10’. So it hires a private security firm the MNU (Multi National United) to serve eviction notices and help move the aliens. The man in charge of the entire operation is Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley). The rest of the movie follows his misadventures as he goes from being a thoughtless officer in charge of carrying out the grim task assigned to him, to becoming something he could never foresee.
The beginning of the movie is very light hearted, and one cannot help but laugh at the ridiculous situation that has fallen before the humans. But this movie, smoothly transitions into a brutal, gory tale of racism, betrayal and the very struggle for existence.
Besides being a brilliant piece of satire, this movie is also a very competent thriller filled with gory fight sequences and a catchy story line. Copley’s acting evolves through the movie and is a pleasure to watch throughout. The aliens look very realistic and the special effects are decent. The movie’s highlight though, is its bizarre plot; which produces a very strong socio political message. But I will add that this movie is still very watchable if you are not the one for serious cinema, but enjoy a good grim action thriller.
District 9 is a must watch for anyone. Its movies like these that keep my faith in Hollywood intact. It’s sheer brilliance throughout, and when it ends… you will have a lot to think about!