BIG SCREEN: Movie: District 9. Cast: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James, Mandla Gaduka

After watching “District 9”, the one and only thing that reminded me of the film constantly is its audacity. And I think Neill Blomkamp marks the past decade as a brainwave to many upcoming directors and screenwriters because he certainly proves that experimenting can take you places.

And with his experiment, he takes us to Johannesburg where a spaceship abruptly stopped over the city, 20 years ago and its inhabitants had to be accommodated in an expatriate camp far away from humans called District 9. In 20 years, the aliens obtain a derogatory nick-name called “Prawns” (Their appearance sure does look like a giant shrimp) and District 9 turns into a slum with the Nigerian gangsters in the camp to make business with them.

Now, in the present day, a private organisation called the MNU (Multinational United) is in charge of relocating about 1.8 million aliens in a new camp, outside Johannesburg, called District 10. For the relocation purposes, a bureaucrat, Wikus Van Der Merwe, is in charge, and accidentally becomes infected with the DNA of the prawns during the process.

Abused aliens

The director, being a South African, and knowing his history, makes several references to the apartheid era. Well it's pretty obvious that the exploitation of the aliens was portrayed to give us some of sort an insight. They are shown to be held in dumpsters with private-contract armies breaking into their homes without their authorisation. Also, the Nigerian gangsters take advantage of them too.

Everything's for praise in this film. First among all the pluses, is the writing which is clever, resonant and most of all, exhilarating. Thanks to the director again and Terri Tatchell for coming up with at least one single movie to stand out from the absurdity of film-making, the past summer witnessed.

And since D9 falls under sci-fi, there is isn't any room for performances except to eulogise the acting skills of the aliens since their screen presence is more than that of humans, but Sharlto Copley deserves special mention for his Steve Carell-like acting sharing the same innocence. The visuals are nothing less than remarkable, considering the budget. The picturing of the aliens, the deserted regions of Johannesburg and the cinematography are top-notch and for this, Trent Opaloch must be awarded.

Small budget

Well, here's something that's highly original and to a greater extent, unusual (in a good way), and one of the best movies last year. “District 9”, making use of its level-headed script, yet again defies the convention that a visually-stunning-science-fiction-fantasy needn't be filled with stars and made with a huge budget. With a shoe-string budget — a fraction of the money used to make “Transformers” and “2012” — it has outperformed every single film that was released last summer.

Finally, a word of warning to the people who haven't seen it yet: It is filled with action sequences which are gory and go ‘sploosh' when there's weaponry involved! The blood-splattering moments are sure to get your stomach churning.

RAHUL SRIDHAR, Sri Sankara School