District 9 * * * 1/2

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Director: Neill Blomkamp.
Screenplay: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell.
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James, Vanessa Haywood, Mandla Gaduka, Kenneth Nkosi.

The Aliens have landed… not in the most popular city – as the Americans would have liked – but in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Alien ship appears over the city where their arrival is not greeted too kindly by us humans and they are segregated into a shanty town known as “District 9”, socially exluded as second class citizens and racially nicknamed “Prawns” due to the way they look. Wikes Van Der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is the government agent in charge of the operation to evict the “Prawns” and put them into a new holding facility, but while operating in the field he is exposed to the biotechnology of the aliens and undergoes a genetic mutation. It is then that the aliens have a new hope of understanding and salvation.

Director Neill Blomkamp’s first film is shot in a documentary style which draws you in from the start and adds to the realism and believability, as does the the South African setting and allusions to apartheid with the social and racial exclusion of the Aliens. Unfortunately, the effective documentary style shifts half way through the film as it becomes more of an action movie and at this point the film loses something in the change to the pyrotechnical hail of bullets and explosions.

However, its still a highly original film with an excellent lead performance from Sharlto Copley as the weasely Govt agent.

Mark Walker

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