Approximately 28 years ago, extraterrestrial life forms made contact with humans; a colossal mother ship hovered above Johannesburg, only for human infiltrators to discover weak and malnourished worker aliens (also known as “prawns”) shut inside, lost without leadership. Since then, the prawns have adapted as refugees on human soil, living and thriving in a group of slums in an area known as District 9. It’s up to Multi-National United (MNU) to keep them in line, eventually moving them into new housing. But during this mission MNU representative Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copely), makes a discovery which leads him to fall victim to his own government, fending for himself amongst prawns.
The story of District 9 is original, coming off as a simple man vs. unknown conflict, but then exposes the complexities of human nature, ultimately conveying the art of understanding – as if we witness a wonderfully executed sci-fi adaptation of the seven stages of grief. However, certain aspects of this film were almost reminiscent to 1984’s The Fly – but with better special effects.
With that aside, District 9 is a triumph to uphold. But what’s even more incredible is that this is director Neill Blomkamp’s first feature film, as it was for marvel Sharlto Copely. Though Copely had originally never intended on pursuing a career in acting, his performance holds much promise for future endeavors. The proof is in his purely sympathetic portrayal of a crumbling man.
Plain and simple, District 9 is arguably one of the best films of the summer, if not the year. It’s original, it’s captivating, it’s just plain awesome.
Final Grade: A