BEYERS DE VOS

What do you get when you mix an authentic South African film with an American production budget? Simply put, you get one of the best films of the year. District 9 is awesome! 

The basic premise: in the late twentieth century an alien spaceship mysteriously appears above the city of Johannesburg. The aliens are stranded, so the South African government move them into a temporary refugee camp called District 9. Now, 20 years later, the government is relocating them to a new site, away from the city and its people. This task is given to Wikus van der Merwe (played by Sharlto Copley) an employee for Multi-National United, a private military company charged with evicting the aliens.

The metaphor is obvious. But this is not just another tired Apartheid movie. Director Neill Blomkamp presents us with such a captivating Sci-Fi action blockbuster that the allegory sometimes gets lost in the explosions and flying bits of alien. But the action sequences, the special effects and the mockumentary style of filming, not to mention the brilliant acting by Copley as the unlikely hero of the film, combine to create one of the best action movies of the year.

Plus, it’s hilarious. The very South African flavour of the film provides all the necessary comic relief, though this humour might be missed by international audiences.

The film has proved to be a major financial and critical success overseas, and it isn’t difficult to see why. It is encouraging to see a South African story getting the American treatment but staying true to its roots.

If you don’t enjoy science fiction this movie probably isn’t for you, but for the rest: do yourselves a favour and go see what will no doubt become one of the favourite movies of the year.