Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

District 9

I just went to see the South African SF film District 9. I really liked it. You probably know the premise - an alien spaceship breaks down just over Johannesburg and the castaway aliens have been living for twenty years in a degrading refugee camp. What I didn't expect is that the film begins like a South African version of The Office, with the drippy head of the alien affairs bureau extremely reminiscent of Steve Carell, and the shaky camera and amateurish talking heads. I really don't want to go into what happens as the story develops because the surprises of the plot were a big part of the enjoyment for me. But I think it lures you in to it, you feel recognition for one genre and then it gradually transforms into another.

I thought this film was going to be a fairly worthy allegory of racism, but in fact it was more of an SF action and fighting film with a purposeful theme. There are quite a lot of action sequences in the film, and they were very well directed. A lot of action films are just a load of explosions and people leaping clear of bullets and so on: you don't really have an idea of the 3-D space in which it is happening, or the causality of the events. I thought the action sequences in this film were well constructed so you understood what was happening and why. None of the events are the same as Robocop, but it reminded me of that film. I'm referring to the emotional feel of the film, the story integrity, and the meaningful action, not the characters or events.

And finally, it's good to see a film set in the developing world, with citizens of the developing world as heroes and villains, and the shanty town as the backdrop. And that not as an exotic location, but just as the place where people live.
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