District 9 (2009) – Film Review
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Stars: Sharlto Copley, David James, Nathalie Boltt
by Dan Berlinka
An irresistible twist on the alien invasion flick, that uses South Africa’s troubled history to create a poignant alternative to the traditional Hollywood approach.
Firstly, there’s no sign of Will Smith and the President doesn’t just happen to be a top fighter pilot. However, that’s not to say that District 9 doesn’t nod to its US antecedents. There seem to be parts salvaged from (among others) Alien Nation, Cloverfield, The Fly and, just as importantly, the world of video games, particularly Half Life 2.
“Boldness of the first 20-minutes is breathtaking”
The story itself is probably less interesting than the situation – the boldness of the first 20-minutes or so is breathtaking and I would have been happy to see it continue in that vein.
The mockumentary technique is both a little tired and something of a cheat. But the effects are top notch (while being casually thrown away), the tone is perfectly pitched and overall, this is a monster movie with some real heart.