Saturday, August 15, 2009

"District 9" (2009) - Movie Review

“District 9” is a very well executed three act film. It wins the audience because of its unusual characters especially Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley), the human getting more than he signed up during serving the eviction notice to the aliens. He is cocky, insecure and is a nerd we would not generally aspire to become the protagonist. The fact of him becoming the pivotal character in this film is some of the battle but he remains as this day to day regular guy and his underlying nature maintained till the end.

Unlike the alien spaceships in movies landing perfectly in nations capital or place of prominence only in the land of United States, this huge industrial looking monstrous machine looms on top of the city of Johannesburg in South Africa. When it landed it showed no signs of activity but stayed afloat, inert. With millions of malnourished alien found in this big iron, they are brought to the ground and set up a camp which has turned into a messy slum. That is District 9. All this we learn from the document styled interview while cutting to the nervous and mumblingly boasting Wikus giving a tour and being a guide to the procedure of moving this 20 years of slum into another contained facility by the privately contracted MNU. So we enter the plot with a crash course of the ordinance disturbed by these alien creatures.

Neil Blomkamp directs this giving out an alien arrival and settlement into a more socialistic eventuality. Thinking about an incapacitated crew of “non-humans”, they behave as a social being and soon find no use in this land they arrived out of accident or a plan gone wrong. They are segregated and their habits does not sit well with the residents of the planet. While the language of theirs seem to have been deciphered which the MNU personnel understand, we do not learn much about them. That happens when Wikus serves the alien’s eviction notice and then get sprayed by a fluid that would become the story’s turning point of plot mover.

The aliens are a standing upright big insect and thus make the derogatory term of “prawn” becomes prevalent in the film. Their purpose is to survive as any living creatures and the twenty years has only turned them into a disgusted group. Now the plan is to separate far away from the vicinity of the city. Wikus is the key to this story who by this fluid gets sick and soon we realize his metamorphosis to be an alien. Christopher the alien is the one who might have some remedy.

Blomkamp moves the story fast. He does not shed details on insane chase scenes in the city of Johannesburg. Rather he blows up the war in the slums. The slum is like any other in the third world country only here the occupants are little different. Some of the humans take direct brutal advantage of these beings by trading Cat food (yes cat food which becomes their primary attractive nourishment) for their ultra modern weapons. The key is this, the weapons is a biometric device which works only on the hands of the aliens. Nice isn’t it? Illogical and cheesy? May be, but Blomkomp sells it through a grim portrayal of reality that we buy in to it.

Soon “District 9” which began as a film focusing on the social alteration the humans have endeavored and that is to segregate, it turns into the objective of Wikus trying to find a cure and Christopher trying to get back to the home. We do not know about the life span, biology, intention or anything at all about aliens. No other country interferes, may be because they do not want the hassle of what the South Africa is going through with them. When we enter the main plot, we know enough to get the ride going.

“District 9” wins of its looks and Sharlto Copley. We do not like Wikus and yet we begin to root for him. When he gets into the battle with the MNU which planned to extract the necessity of parts from him as he goes through this uncontrollable and unstoppable transformation, he understands the nature of survival of the aliens as he has no other choice than to defend. Copley is very sure of Wikus and manages to shine a light on the personal transition in the final thirty minutes of blowing up every moving thing. “District 9” is new, different, good but not great.

No comments: