Best of ’09: District 9

As the end of the year all-too-rapidly approaches, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the best films of 2009 – starting with Jacqui Hocking’s enthusiastic review of sci-fi thriller District 9.

Let me put this simply; Neil Blomkamp’s District 9 is a masterpiece that has encapsulated what the new generation of film-making – and the entire film-watching experience for that matter – is all about.

I fucking loved this movie. Too bold? I think not. Children of Men started the trend and really set the standard for the ‘Potential reality’ genre, and Cloverfield was a fantastic, entertaining effort at modernising the Blair Witch style of handheld camera-work for mainstream audiences, but District 9 took fake reality to a whole new level with its documentary-style approach and seamless special effects.

If you watch this movie looking for good action, you’ll be happy. If you watch this movie looking for an intriguing sci-fi story, you’ll be happy. If you watched this movie knowing it was produced by Peter Jackson and you’re hoping for a puppet/animatronic blood-thirsty alien extravaganza, you’ll certainly be happy. Better still, if you watch this movie hoping for an intellectual statement on the human condition and the politics surrounding humanitarian aid, racism, and the complications of cultural assimilation, you’ll still be amazingly bloody impressed. It could even change your life.

I’m not kidding – this movie has all that, and so much more. If you’re really perceptive you can take so much from this movie that you’ll be stunned in your seat while you sit there contemplating the themes and issues District 9 explores  – themes and issues that will engross your mind for weeks after leaving the cinema. You’ll be so impressed by it’s power to stimulate your thought process you might even be inspired to write a review of it. So here I am.

It’s hard to write a review, a raving one especially, without dipping one’s toe in hyperbole. But my praise is all sincere. I can’t find other vocabulary to express myself; this movie rocked! As a film-maker, I found it utterly inspirational. The fact that I got so emotionally attached to such a repulsive looking creature certainly says something about the SFX department (not to mention the skillful storytelling – ed). The shooting style was particularly modern, keeping sharp and edgy to match the intermittent Doco-style camera work.

District 9 is political, emotional, and most impressively; subtle. Cunningly so. What really grabbed me in this film wasn’t so much the interwoven politics and the ingenuity of the script but the understated style in which it’s all portrayed. Seriously, when you watch this film take note of the mind games it plays with you. But you know what? I have no problem with everyone just loving and appreciating this movie for what it is; awesome fun.

This is a review in progress. I need to watch this movie again. And again.
And again,
and again,
and again,
and again…

But trust me, if you see District 9, you’ll want to too.


– Jacqui Hocking

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