An interesting thing happened while I was watching District 9. A gentleman in the theater got up, walked into the aisle, and vomited. Although my initial reaction to the incident was disgust, the seeping pile of he-sick reminded me of something else. Allegedly, during initial screenings of the movie Alien, audience members threw up due to the intensity of a certain scene. Clearly Alien is now considered a classic of the science fiction genre—a film with a widespread and significant cultural influence. Well, the puke parallel made me wonder if District 9 will reach Alien’s level of fame. It’s hard to say now, but District 9 definitely makes a powerful case for itself.
I’m not a huge fan of describing plots in my reviews. However, sometimes it’s impossible to articulate certain points without giving concrete examples from the film. In the case of District 9, I think it’s really important to go into the film without expectations and with a fairly strong stomach. The movie is not particularly violent. However, District 9 does manage to capture the most deplorable acts of humanity with striking clarity—something that might be tough to handle. The one thing I’ll say about the plot is that aliens land on earth in South Africa and are quickly treated like refugees. A thinly veiled metaphor, at best. Thin, but powerful.
In a typical review, I would sit and nit-pick specific elements of the movie. With District 9, I could say how I thought the ending should have been modified or that certain characters seemed thin and potentially offensive. However, I feel like these are moot points. The bottom line is that this movie left me with such a profound sense of despair and sorrow for the state of our species that I wept. Granted, it was just for a moment, but I shed tears during the film out of my frustration with the alien’s situation. When a film achieves such an emotional reaction, I can only sit here and beg people to go see it.
So, see District 9. I apologize for the vague and humorless review, but I feel that’s the only way I can comment on this movie without selfishly altering the experience for others.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars