Thursday, August 27, 2009
Dir: Neill Blomkamp
At last! Real science fiction! Break out your prefered drug of choice and celebrate, for here is a film with a budget small enough to retain its edge but large enough to push its special effects all the way to the back of your skull and beyond.
The acting is spectacularly good considering Sharlto Copley who plays the lead character Wikus Van De Merwe, had no previous experience, was interacting with characters who aren't there in real life and was ad libbing his way through the film.
The ambience was terrific, especially how the callous attitudes of the humans created a highly oppresive atmosphere which grew ever more belligerent as the story progressed. I particularly liked the simple way language was used to create a series of scenarios ranging from personal disdain to out right danger. The effects were good too, not least the aliens and the way they acted. The only thing I didn't particularly care for was their big cute eyes which seemed slightly out of place on their hard cockroach style bodies, but this is a minor point, something easily accepted as possible, if not probable.
The alien mothership is nice and very photogenic, with its oil refinary look and brooding presence, but as interstellar ships go, its way dodgy. Luckily I can forgive this, as it looks like an old rusty heap, and that goes a long way in my book!
Best of all was the story which didn't rely on spectacle or drama but cut right to the heart of our humanity and described everything it found there. That is what art is all about; describing the human condition. Don't believe any one who tells you otherwise. Art is not about what the artist thinks or feels, its what you think and feel, and 'District 9' makes you think and feel. It might also make you laugh and cringe.
The only bit I didn't like was seeing Peter Jackson's accursed name at the beginning of the film. He gets credit for his role in helping Neill Blomkamp make this film, but I still haven't forgiven him for raping Tolkien.