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Neill Blomkamp

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District 9

Title: District 9
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Written by: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Year: 2009

My primary reason for reading the Economist is not to find recommendations of good science-fiction films, but the fact that that is what happened this time around is probably proof that the publication is a lot more varied than the title implies. What triggered my interest was the setting, combined with the promise that at least most important parts of the film would be more intellectual than the genre’s blockbusters of recent years.

So what is the setting, then? In short, a space ship came to Earth about twenty years ago and came to a halt over Johannesburg. It made no attempts to communicate with the people of Earth, and when it was boarded using force, a suffering and dying alien race was found. They were ferried out and put into camps, saving as many as possible. Now, twenty years later, the camp is still there. It’s called District 9 and, for a moment ignoring the fact that it’s occupied by aliens, bears every kind of resemblance to most refugee camps of secondary citizens throughout human history.

The story begins as Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is assigned to lead a relocation effort of the aliens (or prawns, as they are called). In short, they are to be moved out of the way, where they don’t disturb normal citizens. As the film starts, van der Merwe is as contemptuous as everybody else about the aliens, even though he speaks their language, but he soon finds a very good reason indeed to become their friend…

In short, this film is really good. I can complain a little bit on over-emphasis on action towards the end, but apart from that, this is a very good example of what I call good science fiction. It raises questions that could have reached a few people through various campaigns, but now reaches a huge audience because of the intellegent packaging. This film is worth seeing for many reasons, including good acting, an interesting plot, nice special effects and brilliant directing. You have no good reason not to see this film!

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