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Den of inanity
The Ivory Tower  (Topics: 304 - Posts: 1,820)
Page  1
District 9
Posted by Igelkotten Sep 21, 2009, 10:13
Has anyone seen this yet?

From what I have seen of the previews, it looks to be a very good SF movie. The director has made a quite good short-short movie on a roughly similar theme called "Alive in Joburg" which can be found here and there on the net, and apparently "District 9" is supposed to at least partly continue along those themes. Looks promising, so I and Carduus will probably go and watch it at some stage!

By the way, am I the only one thinking that the aliens of "District 9" look quite similar to the Käfers of GDW's old 2300AD rpg?

Posted by Igelkotten Oct 9, 2009, 19:43
I have now seen it, and I am very pleased!

The film is a rather dark and bleak one, actually somewhat reminiscent of the original "Robocop" movie in it's black humour and vicious satire.

The basic premise is an old one, but with an interesting twist: One day, a huge alien mothership appears over Earth, and comes to a stop over one of Earth's large cities -Johannesburg, in this case. The aliens are indeed technologically far, far ahead of humans. But the aliens are also diseased, malnourished and seem to all be of a rather stupid and easily-led labour caste, without any leaders. So Johannesburg is suddenly faced with a huge refugee problem, of interstellar refugees, virtually unemployable, and with strange cultural pecularities and energy weapons.

The city simply can't cope with this influx, so the big multinational security corporation MNU is tasked with handling the aliens, soon dubbed "prawns", which they do by housing the aliens in "District 9", a fenced slum shantytown on the outskirts of Joburg.

Tensions rise between aliens and humans, as well as among desperate aliens living in squalor, rioting starts, and eventually MNU is forced to start a big resettlement programme, moving the prawns to "purpose-built camps where they can feel safe and be on their own", and the action of the film starts with this resettlement programme.

The eviction action on the ground is commanded by Vicus van den Merwe, a sort of slightly stupid or naive everyday bureucrat, who loves his wife and makes pretty little papier mache bowls for her, wants to please his boss (who incidentally is the father of his wife) and make a career within MNU.Oh, and incidentally, he has no problems commiting various atrocities along the way, not even noticing them as atrocities, but just as another day at work.

Then, things start to go wrong, very wrong, and Vicus ends up in a rather interesting and drastic dilemma. We also get to learn quite a bit about the aliens, humans and the agenda of MNU along the way, with Vicus being forced to not so much reconsider hsi actions, as actually having start to consider them and their consequences.

The film is a very moody and intense one. A lot of the film is shot in fake documentary style, with shaky hand camera and characters adressing the camera, newscasts interspersed here and there, surveillance camera shots and even some shots with the camera in a sort of Quake style. The pace is fast, and as mentioned, there is a lot of humour of the very black variety, combined with references to South African history, as well as other modern history. Apparently, a lot of the dialogue was more or less improvised, and various strange coincidences during the shooting of the film has been left intact, further adding to the intense feeling of the movie. The acting is, for most of the film, very good. You actually feel quite a bit of sympathy for poor clueless Vicus, despite him being an utter bastard in his actions.

The plot is hardly ground-breaking, but handled in a skillful way. The film does change pace and tone for the last part, perhaps somewhat at odds with the start, but it is also a suitably climactic ending.

This is without doubt one of the best films I have seen for a long, long time. Story, acting, mood, setting -they all come together, in a film that is very skillfully done, with lots of sould and character, all on a shoestring budget. The film is technically very nicely done, with lots of little touches in photography, directing and characterization of the various persons that are absolutely wonderful!

Go on, go and see it. You won't regret it!

Posted by Carduus Oct 25, 2009, 23:01

I have seen it too now...

It's a very disturbing, creepy, movie that makes you feel dirty because it's so easy to see how people are reasoning when it comes to "us" and "them" it is also one of the best movies I've seen.

If you haven't seen it already do so, it's worth every penny.

Posted by access.denied Jan 15, 2010, 22:01
Finally: A good, thoughtful biggish-budget SF!

A bit too splattery for my tastes, but you probably can't have a budget without the splatter these days.

Posted by Sunjumper Jan 26, 2010, 16:52
The movie is by the way retroactively made much better by watching Avatar (worth its own thread for so mean reasons, many of them horrible and hellish).
Fore wher Avatar falls on its cardboard face, District 9 works quite well.

Posted by access.denied Jan 28, 2010, 16:28
I still haven't seen Avatar. I know I will, but I am not particularly looking forward to it.

Posted by Solomon Jan 28, 2010, 18:33
I must confess I liked Pocahon... err... I mean Avatar, on a visual level, though if falls flat story-wise.

OTOH District 9 is all kinds of awesome. The way it makes you feel for the protagonist despite him not having any redeeming feature ought to be taught in schools.

Posted by access.denied Jan 28, 2010, 21:56
I'm not so sure... he's your perfect everyman, and we're led to understand that we're all just like that (except Christopher, but he gets a pass just because he's a prawn).

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