Tuesday, August 25, 2009

District 9

On Sunday I went and saw District 9 with some friends (bonus points for organising something social). I quite enjoyed the movie. It was not a feel good movie, but presented a harsh reality showing the depths people can sink to. It is not a movie to entertain, but a movie to make you think (although I've read a few things that show that some viewers didn't quite get that).

None of the human characters are particularly noble. Wikus is a bureaucrat who thinks he's doing something good does so through the eyes of petty racism, and does not question the things he does. He makes jokes about burning egg sacs, threatens kids to get the parents to sign eviction notices, and making fun of the poor conditions the aliens endure. The best that can be said is that he is not intentionally bad, he's just not thinking about what he does.

Others are not so nice. The higher ups at MultiNational United (really creative name there, although I had an interview today with a company owned by United Technologies Corporation, so perhaps it is art imitating life) are blatantly trying to exploit the aliens, and have no qualms using an alien as a target while trying out weapons, or dissecting Wikus to learn what has happened to him. This is made especially heartless given that the boss who orders this is Wikus' father-in-law.

The only noble character in the piece is Christopher Johnson, the main alien character. He has spent twenty years trying to get his people off Earth, and was almost ready when Wikus messed up his plans. He is willing to help Wikus when he sees what has happened to him. He also stands in contrast with pretty much all of the other aliens shown (except for his son and accomplice), who don't show much drive or sense. I wonder if he is perhaps a member of the leadership group that was speculated to have died out in the opening to explain why the aliens arrived in the condition they were in.

The action sequences are pretty good, and the weapons are awesome, though quite brutal. The conclusion is a bit ambiguous, but this works well with the whole making you think thing.

Knowing about the real life District 6 adds more to the understanding of the film.

District 9 is the second best movie I've seen this year (only Watchmen beats it) and is the closest to something not adapted from a previous work I've seen in a long time (it is based on a short film by the same production team so it's close enough for me).

After the movie we had dinner at a Turkish restaurant on Southbank which was really good (I really like Turkish food. It's a good combination of meat, simple salad, and some bread and some rice. Pretty much my ideal meal.) Overall it was a good evening out.

No comments: