In the age of mash-ups, District 9 fits in nicely as a movie of the times, combining documentary-like footage, news reels, black comedy and action sequences to deliver a very palatable movie and despite being a movie about aliens, it gives an insightful look into human nature. But at the heart of it all, District 9 is a movie about ironies.
It’s the near future and aliens have arrived on Earth. But instead of anything like Close Encounters of the Third Kind or the Transformers, the aliens encountered here are refugees of sorts and humans take them in on humanitarian grounds.
Fast forward 20 years later, they are under an apartheid like regime (which is ironic, given that their settlement, District 9, is located in Johannesburg, South Africa…read up your history) and their time spent on Earth has yielded nothing but derision and they are referred to as “prawns”.
Given the social problems due to their existence within the city limits, the South Africans decide to evict them to a camp 200 kilometers away with the help of arms manufacturer MNU. It was during the process of serving eviction notices that the officer in charge gets infected by some sort of alien fuel, which over time, mutates him into one of ’em prawns.
He becomes of particular value since alien technology, particularly weapons (which MNU covets), are powerful but require the wielder to have alien DNA. With no humans willing to help him, he has to turn to the very aliens that he had dismissed as low-lives for help (see the irony?).
The movie asks the question on who is more human, and with everything happening on screen, we get to see that the aliens are pretty much like us, embodying what we consider as goodhuman traits such as patience, perseverance, love, selflessness, intelligence etc. On the other hand, the humans are potrayed as self-serving, greedy, violent, and having a disregard for life and ironically, human rights.
District 9 is probably one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, right alongside the ‘Trek reboot. It scores a 10 in my book, so if you have the chance, catch it at a cinema.