District 9


Neill Blomkamp

Twenty-eight years ago an enormous bloody great spacecraft parks itself over Johannesburg. Instead of disgourging the traditional hordes of blood-thirsty, rampaging alien invaders, it seems to contain a raggedy mass of unwashed and stale alien refugees.

Arriving without much fanfare but a cunning viral advertising campaign, District 9 is certainly one of the lowest key Summer blockbusters, but has more than made up for that with critical plaudits, audience raves and healthy box office.

We must hope the reason is that amid all the shallow bombast and glittery spectacle that has been the hallmark of the Summer's releases, District 9 actually has some intelligence behind it and expects some in front of it, too. But the beauty of it is the film works on several levels.

Talk about picking off a painful scab, this is a South African film taking an allegorical look at apartheid. Yet, this is no preachy let's all sit down and sing Kumbaya message - the situation is complicated. There are probably PhDs to be had from investigating the politics of this feature, not to mention psychoanalysing audience reaction.

Sharlto Copley plays Wikus, and it takes us a while to realise he will be the focus of the film, we don't recognise the actor and from his opening scenes he is clearly a plonker, and another joy here is that we go along with his journey.

A standing ovation is due to WETA's special effects team, the CGI bits `n' bobs that populate the film all have mass and look like they were on the film set - which helps sell the piece of course.

I have some carps - the plot development that serves as Wikus' wake-up call doesn't really make sense and one of the aliens is a bit too cute. But that's it. The sense of humour that pervades the project is very Paul Verhoeven but without becoming as comic book as that worthy's oeuvre, but it does mean that the film is gross - from cat-food munching to human beings suddenly becoming purée - and the makers can count themselves lucky to have escaped with only a 15 certificate. A collection of loose ends (and loose beginnings, come to that) will ensure welcome sequels.

Particularly enjoyable as the summer movie season competition has been fairly rotten this year. This one deserves the accolades and will find resonance with anyone who opposes man's inhumanity to. well anyone or anything really.

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14th August 2009

4th September 2009

22nd December 2009

13th October 2020

Sharlto Copley
Wikus Van De Merwe
Jason Cope
Grey Bradnam - UKNR Chief Correspondent
Nathalie Boltt
Sarah Livingstone - Sociologist
Sylvaine Strike
Dr Katrina McKenzie
Elizabeth Mkandawie
John Sumner
Les Feldman - MIL Engineer
William Allen Young
Dirk Michaels
Greg Melvill-Smith
Nick Blake
Francois Moraneu - CIV Engineer Team
Morena Busa Sesatsa
Themba Nkosi
Mzwandile Nqoba
Barry Strydom
Jed Brophy
James Hope - Police Officer
Louis Minnaar
Piet Smit
Vanessa Haywood
Tania Van De Merwe
Marian Hooman
Sandra Van De Merwe
Vittorio Leonardi
Michael Bloemstein - MNU Alien Civil Affairs
Mandla Gaduka
Fundiswa Mhlanga
Johan van Schoor
Nicolas Van De Merwe
Stella Steenkamp
Phyllis Sinderson - MNU Alien Relations
David James
Koobus Venter
Kenneth Nkosi
Mampho Brescia
Tim Gordon
Clive Henderson - Entomologist
Morne Erasmus
MNU Medic
Anthony Bishop
Anthony Fridjhon
MNU Executive
Eugene Khumbanyiwa
Hlengiwe Madlala
Siyabonga Radebe
Obesandjo's Lieutenant
Melt Sieberhagen
Anton Grobler
Andre Odendaal
Mike Van Kerland
Jonathan Taylor
MNU Doctor
John Ellis
MNU Medical Student
Louise Saint-Claire
MNU Medical Student
Alan Glauber
MNU Operating Room Doctor
Nicolas Herbstein
MNU Biolab Technician
Norman Anstey
MNU Lead Medical Technician
Nick Boraine
Craig Weldon
Robert Hobbs
Ross Pienaar
Sibulele Gcilitshana
Ü Günters Woman