District 9 (2009) Film Review

District 9

In the early eighties, a huge alien ship appeared over Johannesburg in South Africa. After not attacking and not responding to contact, the military cut their way in and found millions of malnourished alien beings. They were brought down and placed in a refugee camp. Now, almost thirty years later, people are sick of the ‘prawns’ (the derogative nickname for them). The nearly two million aliens living in District 9 are to be moved to District 10, 200 kilometres outside of Johannesburg. A bureaucrat, Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is in charge of delivering the eviction notices and then coordinating the move. However, a series of events during the process cause him to become infected, and things get out of hand.

This is a film with a lot of graphic violence, yet it is amazing how quickly one becomes numb to the splattering of body parts and chunks of flesh. It’s a great comment on refugees in general, and on the way the ‘other’ is treated in society. The emotion journey of Wikus from having no respect for the prawns to being forced to relate to them and their cause is the real story in the film, though without the extreme violence, the impact would have been reduced considerably.

District 9 was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects.