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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
CLEVER, REFRESHING PARODICAL COMMENTARY ON RACISM AND APARTHEID
If you are expecting another Independence Day flick with stereotypical aliens and heroes, don't bother. For the film connoisseur, however, District 9 will prove to show a thrilling, refreshing angle on this crucial aspect of South African history.
"District 9" refers to the forced removal of tens of thousands of coloured South Africans from "District 6" in Cape Town during the early 70's. Luckily these referrals aren't pushed too explicitly down the audience's throats. The parallels are clear and worked out very well. But unlike many other South African movies, the audience is not spoon-fed moral judgments or explanations.
True, Wikus is not a very likable character. He got the job only because he married the boss' daughter, he is a racist loser and not at all your typical sci-fi hero. His geekiness does, however, occasionally provide us with some hilarious scenes. When he gets the alien gunk on him, though, he becomes one of "them" and gradually realizes the error of his ways. Another nice referral to South Africa's socio-cultural context wherein many white South Africans eventually realize they (or their forefathers) acted inhumanly in the past towards people with another skin colour. It shows that everyone is capable of change, but hopefully people realize that they don't need to become the 'other' in order to see their points of view more clearly. In short, to fully appreciate District 9, it is rather necessary to view it against its cultural backdrop.
The writing is intelligent, the acting is decent and the special effects are surprisingly good. A definite must see for all those remotely interested in South Africa, racism or aliens.