District 9 (2009)

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What a fookin' two-faced movie. One hour, you're watching an incredibly smart commentary on very real circumstances in South Africa. Then suddenly, the next hour, you realize the movie's been taken over by that same 14-year-old boy who hijacked Avatar. We all love profanity, gruesome gunplay, and watching people's nails fall off, but come on. There really is something to be said for subtlety and moderation. I do think this is a strong film, though and for the most part, deserving of its Best Screenplay nod. Wikus van de Merwe was a wonderfully multi-faceted character. I found myself rooting for him, even though he kept insisting on proving himself to be a raving a-hole... but an a-hole with a heart, yes? How about that rose at the end, huh? What a guy.



Few popular movies these days approach science fiction in such an original way as in District 9.

Of particular note is the directing in the film. An extensive introduction sets the pace for the film with documentary-style interviews and shaky-cam. The more abrupt natural documentary-style filming quickly transgresses into nice subtle scoring with interviews of characters that witnessed the final events.

Overall this film feels very fresh and enjoyable. Towards the end, everything gets a bit "Hollywood" with explosions and gun-ridden fight scenes between good vs. evil. However, the concept of a parallel to the Apartheid helps to move the film into a sophisticated social commentary that is ultimately unachieved by the similarly themed Avatar. The end result of this film is pleasing, but the fight scenes and exploding bodies are a bit tedious and gratuitous for my taste and push it away from achieving great-film status.