Wednesday, September 09, 2009

District 9

Among other things this weekend, including the sublime Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, I actually got to see a current film, this one being District 9, which is a parable of apartheid told with aliens in South Africa and also a fun action film. About 20 years ago some aliens showed up on our doorstep above Johannesburg. They landed, tried to make friends and got shoved into camps and ghettos and formed their own little community while the rest of the world just wants to be rid of them and Nigerians try to scam the hell out of them for cat food. On the day of evicting the residents of District 9 to move them to a different and worse land, the lead agent in the relocation, Wicus, gets sprayed with a strange fluid and suddenly the man who is trying to get rid of the aliens finds himself needing their help.

The film was based on a shorter film by the director, which got him noticed and funded to make this flick. I'm glad he did. It's an action film with a bit of a political subtext but full of thrills and alien weaponry that never overstays its welcome. It's interesting to watch as the lead starts to understand the creatures that everyone reviles and how he helps them in the end. The actors are good, though nobody I recognize, and I look forward to the dvd so I can understand what the hell the South Africans are saying--Wicus in particular--as they have some heavy accents.

The special effects are great and never detract from the film and the idea itself feels like a more fun and brutal Alien Nation, which also dealt with aliens looking for a new home, though they merge a bit better with our society thanks to James Caan. But I digress. District 9 is a fun film and really shouldn't be missed, a breath of fresh alien air on a scene that seems to be catering to bad vampire movies and remakes lately. Check it out.

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