Well well well. Since I saw this film on the same day as I saw The Hurt Locker (below) I have been agonising over their scores. Were they both 3’s, both 4’s? One 3 one 4? Here’s my verdict.
So, a huge alien saucer parks itself over Johannesburg and as the world waits for an attack it becomes clear that there isn’t going to be one and it turns out the spaceship is full of what ware effectively asylum seekers. The aliens (derogatorily referred to as ‘Prawns’) are housed in a slum within the city (District 9) and the metaphor for segregation is set.
After the townsfolk get tired of the prawns it is decided to move them all (more than a million) to a custom facility more than a hundred miles away from the city called District 10. Sharlto Copley plays Wikus Van De Merwe, the middle-manager guy administering the move for the big corporation.
With its faux-documentary style it’s quite a refreshing implementation of an original concept for a film. Reminiscent of ‘Starship Troopers’ in style and with the occasional signature of Peter Jackson’s excellent hyper-low budget debut ‘Bad Taste’ (he’s the Producer here). The visuals are also excellent – believable and slick and some of the weapons good to watch (and reminiscent of the Director’s Citroen C5 advert’s transforming cars).
As the story moves along there are moments of ‘The Fly’ as well and I particularly liked Sharlto Copley’s portrayal of his no-nonsense character.
As the film progressed, however, it became more and more of a standard action film. I enjoyed the film, but it’s not one I’ll be going back to (unlike ‘Bad Taste’ and ‘Starship Troopers’) and I felt it didn’t quite reach some of the heights of ‘The Hurt Locker’, despite that film’s flaws.
3 on 5
Director – Neill Blomkamp
Starring – Sharlto Copley
Producer – Peter Jackson
UK Release – 4 September 2009