In a week where a slew of mediocre movies opened, at least District 9 was thought-provoking. It is equal parts a drama of human cruelty and a good-guy-on-the-run suspense flick.
An alien ship has parked itself above Johannesburg, South Africa, but rather than launching an invasion, these creatures are seeking asylum. Sick and malnourished, the aliens are put in a refugee camp that quickly devolves into a slum. The humans nickname them ‘prawns’ because of their bottom-feeding tendencies. A multinational arms manufacturer is put in place to oversee the prawns, as well as conduct scientific experiments on them and steal their weapons technology.
Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is the mid-level bureaucrat assigned to police the alien compound and oversee a mass relocation. When a mysterious liquid he finds in an alien shack sprays him in the face, the fun begins. He wakes up with an alien arm. He has somehow ingested alien DNA that is initiating his transformation from human to prawn. His company, led by his heartless father-in-law, wants to cut him up and sell him for research. The aliens want his help getting the rest of the liquid back, and a group of voodoo-practicing Nigerian gangsters want to eat him (don’t ask). He ends up joining forces with a particularly sage alien
The opening of the movie is dizzying as the director conducts interviews with various people about the events that transpired. Once Wikus goes on the run, however, the film settles into a very suspenseful story. I won’t tell you to rush out and see it, but in these days of sequels and remakes, this was an interesting original. It's a 7.