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District 9 (2009)

R  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  14 August 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 498,973 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 1,249 user | 469 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.


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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 97 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sylvaine Strike ...
Elizabeth Mkandawie ...
Greg Melvill-Smith ...
Morena Busa Sesatsa ...
Themba Nkosi ...
Mzwandile Nqoba ...
Barry Strydom ...
Louis Minnaar ...


In 1982, a massive star ship bearing a bedraggled alien population, nicknamed "The Prawns," appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa. Twenty-eight years later, the initial welcome by the human population has faded. The refugee camp where the aliens were located has deteriorated into a militarized ghetto called District 9, where they are confined and exploited in squalor. In 2010, the munitions corporation, Multi-National United, is contracted to forcibly evict the population with operative Wikus van der Merwe in charge. In this operation, Wikus is exposed to a strange alien chemical and must rely on the help of his only two new 'Prawn' friends. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They came here 28 years ago. Coexistence has never been easy. Why won't we let them leave? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for bloody violence and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Release Date:

14 August 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sector 9  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$37,354,308 (USA) (14 August 2009)


$115,646,235 (USA) (30 October 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The MNU headquarter buildings shown in numerous scenes throughout the film are in reality the Carlton Centre complex belonging to South African state transport company Transnet. The shorter of the two buildings (shaped as an upside down Y) is actually the former Carlton Hotel which was mothballed in 1997 due to low occupancy. The taller structure with the CGI helicopter landing pads and MNU logo on the roof is the primary 50-storey building of the Carlton Centre complex and is known as Carlton Centre which is the tallest building in Africa. See more »


MNU, a supposedly highly secure corporation, neglects to remove Wikus' security clearance, allowing him to reenter MNU and access highly secure areas using his fingerprints. See more »


Wikus Van De Merwe: [while the 'anti-abortion team' burns down the shack with the alien eggs in it] You hear that? That's a popping sound that you're hearing. It's almost like a popcorn.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are back to front, with the actors names on the left and character names on the right. As opposed to most films where its the other way round. See more »


Featured in Brows Held High: Yeelen (2013) See more »


Performed by Zola
Written by Zola (as Bonginkosi Dlamini), Kabelo Ikaneng and Thabiso Tsotetsi
Courtesy of Ghetto Ruff Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Worst RomCom ever!
12 August 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I attended a preview screening of District 9 last night, and I am in absolute awe of this film and its director Neill Blomkamp.

Thanksfully, I knew relatively little about the story going into the film. I had a rough idea of the concept and had seen a few TV spots, but thankfully the film delivered so much more than I was led to expect.

What I like most about the film is that it increasingly gains momentum throughout its runtime, starting out as a mockumentary (and thinly veiled social commentary), but then delves into more mainstream thriller territory, before culminating in some thoroughly entertaining action set pieces. If action is your thing, be sure to stick it out through to the latter half of the film. As I was leaving the cinema, I overheard many other patrons saying exactly that... "I wasn't too sure for the first hour, but I'm glad I stayed" (personally, I have never walked out of a film at the cinema).

That is not to say that the first half is any less impressive. I am a big fan of realism in films such as this, and as such, I really enjoyed the documentary feel. I think the intention was for the entire film to be in the mockumentary style, but for me the style changes and takes on a more mainstream look (albeit hand-held)... which I think is important to know going in. There are also a few areas where it couldn't be believed that a documentary crew could still be filming (or even alive). But I think the film is much better for this, and definitely more memorable.

If there is one thing that irks me about this film, its that the story moves at an incredible pace... particularly in the earlier scenes in the film, which feel rather rushed, and seemingly at odds with the realistic documentary feel it was going for. Things just seem to happen so quickly, leaving little time to digest the premise and characters. I would love to see a version of the movie that extends the first half to allow a greater look into the reality presented to us.

SFX-wise, there are no complaints. There is the odd bit of artificial blurring on some alien movement, but overall we are presented with a very low-key, realistic CGI presentation that could teach Hollywood a thing or two.

One other aspect that I must mention is the performance of the lead character. Seeing a film of this caliber that has no recognisable actors, with foreign (to an Aussie!) accents just adds to the authenticity... but Sharlto Copley (in his debut performance) is a revelation and one of the most memorable aspects of the movie.

I cannot recommend this movie enough, and the wait until the weekend so I can see this film again is just too long!

490 of 738 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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