Sunday, August 16, 2009

Going out to the movies

We saw District 9 today. There's been a lot of hype around the movie and viral marketing and whatnot for this movie, creating lots of buzz. I'm pleased to say that the hype and buzz are justified. This is a technically brilliant, thought-provoking, intelligent movie with lots to occupy people who would rather not think about what the movie might really be saying.

As you probably know, the premise is that aliens (that do sort of look like prawns on legs) parked their mothership over Johannesburg. Finding the aliens on the ship starving, humans bring them down into a temporary holding area - District 9 - that ultimately turns into a slum. The movie begins when a military organization decides to move the aliens into a new area away from the city.

The story is unsettling. Clearly the aliens in their slum represent any minority peoples moved into a ghetto by the majority race or religion. More awful is the thought that, if aliens or other people did show up and were weak... militaries and governments would treat them that way. Not everyone would support them, maybe, but people have definitely shown themselves capable of that and worse.

This thought makes the movie very uncomfortable, at times, but also equally compelling. It wasn't exactly the movie or story I thought it would be - it was better in many ways. Plus it's a fine action film as well. We highly recommend this movie; it's well worth seeing.

Then, when you've seen it, watch Alive in Joburg, the short film on which District 9 is based (note: the short film is very, very quiet... but worth watching anyway).

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