Well, Big Friendly and I loved it. We finally got to see it this evening and I was very proud of this latest SA product.
District 9, directed by Neill Blomkap, is a relatively straight alien vs human sci-fi, only it is set in Jozi, so all the comparisons with apartheid are incredibly resonant, without being shoved down your throat. The recent xenophobia in SA is also felt strongly through the film, in the same way that there is always interspecies intolerance and lack of understanding.
Here, Jozi is the main attraction with the downtown shots and the depressing squatter camp all feeling very real. The performances are fab, especially Sharlto Copley as Wikus Van Der Merwe. (Of course I was delighted to see friends like Jonathan Taylor and Rob Hobbs in it too). The movie is brilliantly styled; the baddie Nigerian gang are especially outrageous, and the alien technology is great.
The very funny first third (laugh out loud often), which is very mockumentary in style,gives way to a more serious sci-fi dilemma as we follow Wikus’s journey to self-awareness, and his shift in allegiance. I love that the movie helps us connect with the prawns the way Wikkus does. It ends up being rather powerful stuff. And the Wikus/prawn flower was almost Wall-e-esque, it was so touching. It’s also very skop, skiet en donner.
Great story, great performances, great shots of Jozi, gritty local gangsters, hard core urban violence – both human to alien and human to human make me understand why it shot to the top of the charts in the US. It is cheeky, original, independent, and totally world class.
And, to borrow a certain prawn restaurant in Jozi’s nickname, well done Blomkop!
PS. And I have to say to all detractors; I think you’re being a leetle over sensitive.