Sunday, September 20, 2009

Movie with Abe: District 9

District 9
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Released August 14, 2009

It’s always refreshing to see a movie that isn’t really like anything else out there. The story of an alien spacecraft hovering above Johannesburg for twenty years and the alien population subjected to a rather discriminatory quarantine and inhumane treatment is just that. It’s an allegorical take on interracial relations and the way one stronger culture often subjugates another with little reason, but it’s also a superb sci-fi film with a spectacular sense of futuristic alien technology. A film that works equally well on two levels is just as wondrous a treat.

“District 9” is presented alternately as a collection of found-footage intended to be made into a documentary, but the smooth intercutting of unframed filming makes it come wonderfully alive. It’s a film that starts off quietly and ominously, and it’s not until about halfway through that things really start to take off. The two halves of the film are equally enticing, though the action-packed second art is incredibly exciting and altogether thrilling. “District 9” is smarter and far more well-writen than its somewhat similar predecessor “Cloverfield,” but the awesome thrill ride of the latter film exists in similar form in the tail end of the former. In other words, if the film starts out slowly, rest assured that it picks up and delivers in terms of excitement.

This movie stars no well-known actors and assigns little importance to any of its characters besides its lead, Wikus Van De Merwe. What that means is that it’s intent on proving itself on the merit of its story, which is absolutely enticing and thoroughly intriguing. The film isn’t really a mystery that needs to be solved, but instead a ride that should be taken. It’s unassuming and disarming, and that’s the main part of why it works so well. It’s not as loud or showy as either “Transformers” or “Terminator,” but that’s what makes it all the more appealing: a subtle science fiction film that’s surprisingly great.


Watch the Minute with Abe here.

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