District 9 (R)




Posted on August 13, 2009 at 2:48 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 22 at 6:32 PM

Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sharlto Copley, Mandla Gaduka and Kenneth Nkosi star in "District 9."

District 9

Watch Gary Cogill's review

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District 9 is an intense, thrilling, fascinating new film, and for the sci-fi genre, it's part-time groundbreaking.

Using newsreel footage, the film opens with an enormous alien spacecraft hovering over Johannesburg, South Africa. The malnourished aliens are transported to the ground where they are housed in a man-made slum.

Of course, the aliens are despised by the humans. After living in squalor for 28 years, things take a turn for the worse when the aliens rebel. Yes, this is a message movie about racism and apartheid, but it's never heavy handed and the film is brilliantly constructed.

District 9 is written and directed with a sure, intelligent hand by Neill Blomkamp, using special effects for a purpose rather than for window dressing. His homage to the first two Alien films is a work of art, and this movie is as impressive and intense as any all year.

Be careful - District 9 is rated a strong R for violence, and there is nothing nice about its approach. But for sci-fi lovers (and I'm one of them), this is an impressive, meaningful work of genius by a filmmaker who's just getting started.