Cine-Men: Welcome to District 9, Earthlings

Mitchell Baltosser, Staff Writer

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I hope our readers are ready for something heavy this week, because we are going to be discussing the hard, gritty tale of “District 9.”
“District 9” tells the story of aliens arriving on Earth. Their ship is broken and left hovering over the skies of Johannesburg, South Africa where the population of sick, hungry aliens is housed by the South African government in an area dubbed “District 9.”

Years later, after overpopulation has taken hold of the district, the government has ordered the aliens to be relocated. This is when the viewers meet our main character Wikus van de Merwe. His job as an immigration agent gets interesting when he finds out more about the aliens and District 9 in ways he never would have expected.

Glancing at the synopsis, readers might recognize some elements are similar to real life. That is because this film was created to be an allegory of the 1970’s South African apartheid regime and mirror the real-life District 6.

We here at Cine-Men believe it does so extremely well, and we will discuss in detail later. We bring this up now because we believe that researching and knowing more about the topic may make this film a more fulfilling and enlightening experience.

Made in 2009, this film was met with wide acclaim, turning heads with its mysterious yet on-the-nose viral ad campaign. It went on to earn several Academy award nominations and grossed over $210 million at the box office.

My Take:

To start simply and to the point, I loved everything about this movie. Shot in the style of found footage, it gives the movie that shot of gritty realism needed for the subject matter being shown. The aliens shown are not the defied, beautiful beings you see in the likes of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

They are tired, hungry, sick and lost, which just adds to the realism and relatability. And lastly, the acting was fantastic, especially from Sharlto Copley as the main character.

This may give away a bit too much of the plot at once, but this film creates one of the most interesting combinations of themes I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. To put it very simply, take the action of “Die Hard,” the body horror of “The Fly” and the morals of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and all that mixes together wonderfully into a beautiful piece of science fiction cinema.

To end on a more serious note, in a time of border walls, child internment camps and seemingly a new protest every day, this movie hits very close to home in a hard but very much needed way.

I find that this movie is a fantastic example of how science fiction can tell modern stories. This is a must-watch film on the grounds of its peak representation of both humanity and as a work of science fiction. Cine-Men rates this film 10/10.