District 9 Review – Electrifying, Must Watch Movie

We’re no great fans of science fiction or alien movies having watched few-to-hardly-any movies in this genre.

But with some SI readers slyly recommending District 9, we figured it’s time to take a look.

So after quickly skimming through a few reviews and finding them mostly adulatory, we hotfooted over to the mall and watched the matinee show ($6) of District 9 yesterday.

Folks, District 9 is a lovely movie that keeps you completely engrossed with events on the screen for the entire 120 minutes or so.

Directed by 29-year-old Neill Blomkamp, District 9 is an electrifying movie, one of the best we’ve seen this year.

The movie is the gripping story of a large group of aliens living in a Johannesburg slum for two decades after their mothership develops some problem over the city.

Shunted by the government of humans to the District 9 slum, the aliens, referred to disparagingly as prawns by humans because of their grotesque physical appearance, multiply over time to 1.8 million setting the stage for the inevitable conflict with their human neighbors.

Trouble, big time, erupts when the government hires military contractor and large weapons manufacturer MNU to relocate the prawns to a new location, 200 km away from Johannesburg.

Heading the effort to serve the eviction notices is Wikus van de Merwe, played with great elan by Sharlto Copley.

As events unfold and the battle between the MNU mercenaries and the aliens quickly intensifies, different shades of Wikus’ personality come to the fore and we recognize that Sharlto is a fine actor.

But much as Wikus is immensely appealing and endearing as he goes about first trying to evict the aliens to the new location, later dealing with his horrid plight and finally [won’t disclose this], it’s the gripping story, tight screenplay and decent graphics that held us entranced in our seats.

The graphics, while by no means stunning, are more than adequate and neatly integrate with the rest of the story.

The District 9 story is actually told skillfully in flashback interspersed with interviews of a cast of characters, video surveillance pictures and TV broadcasts.

Kinda like a documentary, but in this case the touch of verisimilitude is added to a fast-paced fictional movie. Cute.

This novel technique adds allure to the style of the movie compared to the convention method of merely narrating the story in a film.

We’re not sure if District 9 has released in India.

But whenever it does, do make the time for it.

If you live in the U.S., District 9 is in wide release here and must surely be playing in a theatre near you.

14 Responses to "District 9 Review – Electrifying, Must Watch Movie"

  1. Albert Camus   August 28, 2009 at 9:22 am

    won’t read this until I watch the movie.. probably will wait until blu ray release.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We might have missed District 9 but for your comment the other day.

  2. murlih   August 28, 2009 at 9:40 am

    i have felt the same way about science fiction and alien movies………i will go see it today.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    District 9 is running in plenty of theaters in your area.

    Do let us know how you find the movie.

  3. Albert Camus   August 28, 2009 at 10:37 am

    You have mentioned that someone in your household likes “Law and Order”.. I am pretty sure that they will like http://www.netflix.com/Movie/Dexter_Season_1/70058399?lnkce=seRtLn&trkid=222336&strkid=1901883740_0_0&strackid=28fa8018f6e6d24f_0_srl
    I haven’t watched season 2 yet, will do soon.
    I liked the first season of “Weeds” too.. They have Jessica Biel’s Powder Blue on instant play too.. that’s going to be terrible(14% on RT).. but am planning to watch it. Am getting a hard copy of “City of God” tomorrow.. yay!

    Too bad that Netflix doesn’t carry HBO titles on instant play.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Added your link to our instant queue.

    2. Plan to watch a French movie I’ve Loved You So Long on DVD later today.

  4. gnair91   August 28, 2009 at 11:03 am

    dont you ever get sick of watching movies? i do sometimes…feel like i need a break…

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You Write: dont you ever get sick of watching movies? i do sometimes

    When we do, we go to a bad-ass Indian restaurant.

    When we get bored of both, there’s always horizontal calisthenics. 😉

  5. Albert Camus   August 30, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    here’s another sly recommendation for you..


    Kal Penn’s best.. watching the censored version on CMDY now.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Added to Netflix queue and moved up to #1. Most likely will watch it on Wednesday.

    Tempted now by Pineapple Express on Instant Play.

  6. unknownvirus   September 1, 2009 at 12:48 am

    I told ya so.. ANyway, another recommendation for ya..
    The hurt locker.. Directed by the chiquita ->Kathryn Bigelow..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Yes, you did say on Aug 21 that District 9 was creating quite a sensation. Thanks.

    The Hurt Locker is no longer running in theaters near us.

  7. deepa   September 1, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Great flick, truly enjoyable.

    Notice the relationship between the humans and the prawns are likened to the apartheid although in Screen Rant, he likened it to the relationship with the refugees. Peter Jackson is truly visionary!

    My favourite opening line, the ship was not in the usual Chicago, New York or Washington but in Johannesburg

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Not sure if we are imagining it but we remember reading that the movie was filmed in Soweto, one of the big slums of the Apartheid era.

  8. araj   September 9, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Talking of aliens and science fiction, you may try James Cameroon’s Aliens as well(which was released way back in 1986). Aliens is very highly rated by almost all the reviewers(though, in my opinion, the plot is full of holes from a logical viewpoint, the film has an intensity that makes you want to see it again and again)……

    Of the movies I watched lately, Greg Mclean’s Wolf Creek stood out tall (please review it if you can). Wolf Creek is a kind of a movie that lingers long in your subconscious after you finished watching it.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Will watch Wolf Creek on Saturday and try to review it this weekend.

    Average of 228,028 ratings on Netflix for Wolf Creek: 2.9 stars (Max = 5)

    Will see Alien and Aliens next week.

  9. Dr. Lawrence Kutner   September 9, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Don’t know if araj meant both Alien and Aliens.. Aliens is the sequel to Alien.. both are equally good. You may want watch Alien before watching Aliens to get the background.

    BTW, my Samsung blu ray player got an update last night.. it is now enabled to play Blockbuster on demand (still WIP) and youtube.. youtube quality is not great, but it is like connecting my PC to the TV.

    And wondering why you didn’t watch Pulp Fiction and H&K on Amazon instead of wandering to the Blockbuster store.. doesn’t Amazon carry those titles?

    I watched (dozed for 1/4th of the movie) Coraline.. wife and kids liked it quite well, but not me. It has an RT rating of 88%.. you may like it.. or not..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: And wondering why you didn’t watch Pulp Fiction and H&K on Amazon instead of wandering to the Blockbuster store.. doesn’t Amazon carry those titles?

    H&K go to White Castle can’t be rented on Amazon only purchased but Guantanamo Bay is available for renting ($3.99). Pulp Fiction and Alien too are not available for renting on AMZN.

    BTW, nothing can save Blockbuster. Not even if the girls at the store go topless. Read somewhere that they are even opening kiosks a la RedBox. Again, too late like its online DVD rental and instant play forays.

    BTW, Netflix now has A Wednesday on Instant Play.

    2. Will watch Alien first.

    3. What is it like quality-wise to download a movie (legit) on PC/laptop and watch it on TV?

  10. Dr. Lawrence Kutner   September 9, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    What is it like quality-wise to download a movie (legit) on PC/laptop and watch it on TV?

    The quality is not as good as a DVD. But the laptop I use to connect to the TV is 4 years old.. I am sure that the newer laptops will yield better performance.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:


    Must try it one of these days though there’s little incentive to do so given Netflix’ growing Instant Play collection and DVD library.

  11. araj   September 10, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Of course, I am talking about Aliens. James Cameron didnt direct the original Alien. Alien is the mother of it’s three sequels i.e. Aliens,Aliens-3 & Aliens-4 (they are in ascending order by number and in descending order by quality). However, the original Alien, though neither technically nor narratively as brilliant as the Cameron’s Aliens, it was a huge hit back then for coming up with the idea of the dreadful ‘Alien’ in the first place. Also, I do agree with Lawrence Kutner that watching the Aliens would be that much more engrossing, if you’d watched Alien first.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Added both Alien (Dir: Ridley Scott) & Aliens (Dir: James Cameron) to our Netflix queue.

    Should get them next week.

  12. Dr. Lawrence Kutner   September 13, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Saw this in theater last night.. very engrossing.. liked it better than “Independence Day”.

    You may like Cloverfield too (I liked it.. but not as much as this movie, which had me rooting for Christopher Johnson and his kid). That’s also a documentary-style monster movie.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Describing District 9 as “Neill Blomkamp’s formidable feature debut,” Anthony Lane in the latest issue of New Yorker (September 14, 2009) writes:

    You don’t feel bamboozled, fooled or patronized by “District 9,” as you did by most of the summer blockbusters. You feel winded, and shaken, and shamed.

    2. Will watch Cloverfield.

  13. apchi   September 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I love this movie, the way that Wikus van de Merwe change his mind during the movie is great

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Glad you enjoyed this movie.

    Wonder if District 9 has made it to India?

  14. xasupis   October 2, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Yes I searched for this review and got it.

    Excellent movie.

    But what do you think is gonna happen to him? Will Christopher come back and rescue him or is he gonna remain alien??

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We’ll have to wait for Part 2.

    Our guess is he’ll be reunited with his wife in some way.

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