Sunday, September 20, 2009

District 9 (2009)

Director: Neil Blomkamp. Cast: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope. 112 min. Rated R. Sci-fi.

Blomkamp's directorial debut (based on his own story, written in his 20s in South Africa) is an intelligent mix of sci-fi, politics, sociology, action, and special effects. The gore and tragic tones may be depressing to some, but the creativity of the story is truly impressive, and becomes an incredibly thought-provoking approach to xenophobia. The ending clears the path for a definite sequel, and this is one of those rare instances where I'm eagerly waiting for one. If you have a problem with sci-fi, don't let the ads prevent you from seeing this great piece of cinema.

Mo says:


  1. Agree100%! Great movie!
    Again it was proved to me how strong and successful the sci-fiction genre is in giving pecular messages about sensitive matters and important aspects of human life behind of its fictional nature.
    Was it amazing to you :The willing to use of documentary techniques like especial handheld camera movement, direct interview in the style of T.v news in order to produce an atmosphere of reality more often in a fantasy movie?..We have seen similiarly in "Cloverfield" before.
    I would like to add to your key points: very impressive music and very real performance of main charactor. What interesting is your especial focus on sequel-making?It never comes to my mind!Also the word of Xenophobia was new for me.

  2. In the good old days, sci-fi was always a good excuse to offer a more intelligent philosophy of life and existance. This is the common point of all great sci-fi movies. It's exciting that this year's movies like "Knowing" and "District 9" are resuscitating this concept.

    The intentional sequel-preparing elements are clearly present in "District 9". (Spoiler Alert!) The hero alien promises at the end to come back in three years, both to save his people, and cure the protagonist. The human (who has become an alien in the last scene) makes a metallic flower for his wife, promising us that we will see the continuation of their relation in the next movie.

    I just hope they don't mess up the beauty of the first movie in the sequel. Because that's what they usually do.

  3. The intelligence and creativity of director/writers really impressed me. Basic philosophical concepts are expressed in new and different way. The movie shows the dark reality of human's life, which is emphasised by its documentary-style. Spritual side of "human" (which has come from the heaven) are enclosed and suppressed by his earthy side.The war continues till the time that an earthy man "transform" to his heavenly form, but this war is never-ended.
    The movie is full of bloody scenes; but the final scene brought tears to my eyes. This is the reality of our lives!

  4. Very interesting. I never thought of such a philosophical persepective.

    If becoming an alien is "good", then I'm worried the hero might not get cured in the sequel ...

  5. Fantastic! Hooman's POV is absolutely new & great.After Mohsen , I was always looking forward hearing his movie commemts especially on his favourite genre :Sci-Fi,Fantasy,horror and finally it happened.
    Thanks and welcome !

  6. Dear Mohsen and Maryam; thank you so much for your comments!
    About the "cure", I think that its happening will not confound the concept of spritual evolution. The cure will change the "shape", not the "identity" of a man. Also, I think that aliens and people, are two sides of the "human" coin and are not seperate and independent creatures.

    Apart from the philosophical aspects, the movie criticises many of the rules in modern world. This is a considerable advantage, by itself.


  7. This is becoming even more interesting!

    Obviously, the hatred shown towards aliens in the movie, is a metaphor for the hatred shown towards blacks, homosexuals, Jews, Baha'is ... or any other minority in human societies. These minorities are guilty, not becuse they have done a crime, but because of their mere presence in the society. The movie very nicely shows the heart of anti-racism movements: just because men come in different "shapes", doesn't mean they have different "identities".

  8. Exactly! You explained it wisely, Mohsen jan.
    Another point in this movie is the event which started the transformation process. exposure to the black fluid was suddenly, unwanted, by chance (or bad luck), etc. But I think Wikus was "chosen" for this change. We can find the backgrounds and the most important, was his "love" to his wife and family. This "love" hasn't shown and emphasized about any other characters in the movie, except the aliens. By another words, reaching the heaven is possible only by love!

  9. No wonder the movie ends with the alien making a metallic flower. Probably as you say, it was a critical concept for the movie.

  10. I think I should be truly considerate in claiming again that "sci-fi" is not my favorite genre, since the most impressive movies I've recently seen belong to this genre. In general, being able to say about the brightest aspects of human-being and the deepest emotional and spiritual concepts of life by the darkest scenes in such a depressant theme can just be named a masterpiece!
    I have nothing to say more than what dear Hooman mentioned except that I had tears in the whole of second half! Once again it was proved to me whatever you recommend to see, even in my non-favorite genre, is great. Absolutely great. Thanks.

  11. Dear Farzaneh,

    Believe me when I say that in sci-fi, there's more than meets the eye. The secret to watching sci-fi movies, is that you need to accept the movie's world/context first, then enjoy (or dislike) the movie. If we don't accept the world in the first place, we obviously won't enjoy anything.

    Happy you liked the movie.

  12. Nice comments! What can I add to these beautiful comments of yours!
    A sad matter in the movie was how humans forget this fact that Wikus Van der Merwe is still a human being and they begin to treat him like aliens very soon, before he changes to aliens totally. Doesn't this remind you a familiar concept!? When someone begins to help a minority or makes a relationship with people that we illogically don't like them, people start to behave him/her differently.
    I'm wondering what was the director's intention to show Wikus making a metallic flower. Were the aliens simply deprived of even flowers as many other things that they were deprived in the movie? Or the metallic flower is a sign of something which I didn't notice!
    The movie shows not only the sequel-preparing elements, but also it contains some prequel-preparing elements! Look at the title of the movie: "District 9" and remember that we see they make "District 10". What has happened in the past 20 years in the past 8 districts!?
    ...and who is Christopher Johnson!? St. Christopher is the man who was supposed to have carried Jesus Christ across a river when he was a child, and who, as a result, became the PATRON SAINT of travelers. John or The Gospel according to St. John is one of the four books in the New Testament of the Christian Bible that describe the life and teaching of Jesus. Are all these accidental?

  13. I remember in our Genetics class in college, the professor (Dr. Ghiasvand) used to say skin color is determined by only a few genes, but the phenotype of these few genes is so visible, it creates such huge social dilemmas; so imagine what disasters would happen if (for instance) blood groups or body proteins had such visible effects on the human body. Life on earth would end sooner than we could imagine!

    "District 9" shows the same concept. People are segregated and discriminated against, only because they "look" different. No other crime has happened.

    On another note, based on Roger Ebert's review, the basis of the name "District 9" is:

    "The title “District 9” evokes Cape Town’s historic District 6, where Cape Coloureds (as they were called then) owned homes and businesses for many years before being bulldozed out and relocated. The hero’s name, van der Merwe, is not only a common name for Afrikaners, the white South Africans of Dutch descent, but also the name of the protagonist of van der Merwe jokes, of which the point is that the hero is stupid. Nor would it escape a South African ear that the alien language incorporates clicking sounds, just as Bantu, the language of a large group of African apartheid targets."

    So I don't think there's any prequel on the previous 8 districts! Or is there? ;-)