district_nineWe went to see District 9 in Seattle.

I was impressed, it really was more subtle and fascinating than I was expecting. I sort of thought it would be gory, a little creepy, but a straightforward monster movie.

It was gory, it was creepy, but it was not a straightforward monster movie. I loved that it took place in South Africa instead of somewhere in America, or even Europe. It stirred up parallels to its troubled racial history, and at the same time showed a united racial front when it comes to persecuting something alien. Literally alien.

A race of aliens has been contained in a camp inside Johannesburg. People call the aliens “prawns,” a derogatory term to marginalize them as bottom-feeders. Fear has led to their confinement, and inside the camp (as happens inside any such camp) crime, poverty, starvation, filth, and desperation are the norm. Tensions are spilling over into the city, so officials decide to move the entire 1.5 million population of “prawns” to a bigger camp out in the countryside, away from people. A bureaucrat is put in charge of the “evictions,” but the movie takes a surprising turn when he goes to the camp to carry out this job.

The movie is shot like a documentary, with mock news footage and pretty much all the action captured on security cameras and other video feeds. This is actually brilliant, and it gives this movie a voyeuristic, sensational feeling that fits perfectly. It is sometimes extremely gross to watch, but it’s addictively good.