Monday, August 24, 2009

Go See District 9

A week ago, I went by myself to see District 9 on opening day. I went for a matinee because I was pretty sure Pam didn't want to see the movie, but I wanted to see it...bad.

The short version: this movie is amazing. It is a gory science-fiction action thriller that is relentlessly good. I recommended it to a coworker who dislikes gory movies and science fiction, and she loved it.

Technically, the movie is superb. The cinematography is a mix of first-person shots, third-person shots following characters as usual, and supposed security-camera feeds organized later. The premise of the shooting is that the film you are watching is a documentary on what went terribly wrong in District 9 interspersed with shots that are not part of the documentary but also take place in the recent past.

Emotionally, the movie is very affecting. The ending isn't all bad news, but this is a movie that morally horrifies in a couple of places. One of the premises of the movie is the monstrosity of human beings compared to the monstrous aliens. The aliens are not ET - they are not cuddly, and do a good job of being alien - but during the film I felt more alienated from the humans, even though all that they do in the film seems plausible to me given our history.

Philosophically, the movie is challenging. It asks questions like 'What is it to be human'? 'What is heroic'? As well as the usual questions of the thriller, like 'Oh my God what will happen next!?'

I can't say much more without spoiling things about the movie. It will surprise you in a number of ways. Unless you are very squeamish (the movie has some visceral parts) I recommend this movie very highly - even if you don't normally like science fiction that much. I left this movie thinking, satisfied, and wanting to see it again.

1 comment:

Aric Clark said...

Wish I could have gone with you to see it! I remember really enjoying several that our ladies weren't interested in - In Bruges, Cloverfield... Wish I wasn't broke or I'd go see District 9 right now.