Monday, 25 January 2010

Review: 'District 9'

Film Review: 'District 9' directed by Neill Blomkamp

It takes three months after an alien spacecraft hovers over Johannesburg for the South African military to decide the best option is to cut their way through. Inside they discover almost two million malnourished aliens, later known in the film by the derogatory term ‘shrimp’ on account of their appearance and references to them being the lowest of the low,. These aliens find asylum in a large township in Johannesburg known as District 9.

The director Neill Blomkamp sets out his intent from the word go. “Now to everyone’s surprise the ship didn’t come to a stop over Manhattan, Washington or Chicago, but instead it coasted to a halt over the city of Johannesburg”. This multi stylized feature combines documentary, hollywood and video game style action. Blomkamp uses ‘shrimp’ for the rather unsubtle reference to a nation’s tortuous political history. With no alien’s allowed signs spread all over the city and imminent evictions from District 9, the stage is set for a human versus alien showdown.

The star of the show is the stage. Having the action in a township, much less anywhere other than Manhattan, London or Paris, lends a uniqueness. We will not see this often and for this alone it is worth viewing. I do have to critique the use of multiple style, for the viewing feels muddled. It is a brave attempt, but makes it difficult as a viewer to connect. This being said, they have attempted something a little different here and I for one enjoyed it. This film feels like a raw experiment and it is no surprise that as a result some things work and others do not, but it is an experiment worth the watch.

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