District 9

This film is a few years old now, but is one of those rare things, a sci fi film that transcends its subject.

It is set in modern Johnannesburg, it is the story of a giant spaceship that appears and just hovers over the city. No explanation is ever given for it, but eventually humans break into it to discover a load of aliens, naked and starving inside. As with Star trek, there never seems to be any worry about the wrong sort of air, or any infections they might have been carrying, so they are all placed in an enclosure directly beneath the still hovering mother ship.

Then the fun starts. Locals resent this increasingly crime ridden slum on their doorsteps, so demand its removal. Despite a convoy of tooled up security men, the evictions are carried out by clerks knocking on doors asking the aliens to sign the eviction orders. In one instance, the alien becomes angry and scratches the document, to the clerk’s delight, claiming it was a signature.

I won’t spoil the plot, but it becomes increasingly a satire of the big budget disaster movies, with the hero increasingly turning into one of the aliens, called by locals ‘prawns’.

It is a brilliant action movie, it deals with racism, and cultural clashes, and it is a fantastic send up of virtually every big budget sci fi or action film. And set in Jo burg instead of New York, as one of the characters notes, why not? Why do aliens always land in the USA when there are so many other places?

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