Saturday, February 22, 2014

CWE: "District 9" (2009)

Skipped: "Dead Like Me" seasons 1 and 2; "Deadwood" seasons 1, 2 and 3.

Summary: A mysterious alien ship arrived in 1982 and came to a halt over Johannesburg, South Africa. 28 years later, the aliens who have been living in a slum called District 9 are being evicted and moved to a new location away from the human population. Wikus Van De Merwe, the beaurocrat in charge of the operation, gets more than he expected after being exposed to a strange alien chemical.
  • I think that this is the first movie I ever bought on Blu-ray. I don't watch it all that often because it isn't an easy movie by any means.
  • The majority of the movie is shot in pseudo-reality/documentary style, with just a few scenes filmed in the style of a "regular" movie. It makes things feel very in the moment.
  • The sense of foreboding is very strong. We know from early on that *something* happened to/with Wikus, but not what. Some of the people interviewed are understanding and say that he did nothing; others that he's a traitor. But there are no clues (until we see it happen) of what the story is.
  • Wikus's casual racism toward the aliens is so, painfully authentic. He's not a bad guy, necessary, but they aren't "people" to him. Killing the eggs is nothing -- they aren't babies or children, they're just things. But he also tries to minimize the violence toward the aliens (although whether that's because he actually doesn't want to see them die or because he fears that they'll fight back is another issue). He also isn't actively angry and violent the way some of the others are. But he does threaten and treat them generally with utter disregard.
  • He's also really a pretty average, weak man.
  • I also appreciate that, for the most part, where the aliens come from and how they ended up in their current situation is utterly unknown. We simply know virtually nothing.
  • And now Wikus is sick.
  • I'm never quite sure how to feel about the Nigerians. I don't doubt that there are people like this in the world, of course. But the racial/cultural issues are sticky.
  • I also hate, hate, hate to see people throw up on TV or in the movies. Hate.
  • I can't remember if we ever get an explanation of why Wikus started to change. I mean, we know that he got sprayed by the alien device, but how and why did it change him? What does that mean in terms of the larger picture?
  • Poor Wikus. He's become the "other."
  • The discussion makes it clear that this is not the first time this has happened. Supposedly it's the first time the person has survived, but I doubt that.
  • And Wikus is still talking about legality and fines...
  • Poor child alien...
  • Oh, Wikus screws everything up.
  • There really aren't any "good" guys in this movie. Maybe kinda sorta the aliens? But not really. Wikus is our main character, but as I said, he's not completely without issues. Lots of bad guys, though.
  • Bad guy goes boom.
  • Oh, Wikus. The aliens keep trying (kinda, sorta) to help him. And it's very hard for him to find the courage to do what he needs to do. But in the end, he does fight back and save Christopher and his child.
  • Gotta say, the evil military guy getting his head pulled off is not a bad thing.
  • Obviously, an incredibly violent film. But so very interesting and well made. Still one of my all-time favorites.


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