SCI-FI; 1hr 52min
STARRING: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope
Ghetto blaster: Copley
What a cool idea for blistering sci-fi. For 20-plus years, a horde of fugitive aliens has been crowded into Johannesburg's District 9 ghetto. The 1.8 million skeletal “prawns” are plug-ugly and unwelcome, their disabled ship hovering over the bleak city like an indictment of their incompetence. With a plan in place to re-locate them to a Stalag-like facility, corporate operator Wikus van der Merwe (Copley, in a charged and acute performance) has been placed in charge.
Wikus is a smiley chatterbox with a steely procedural spine. But he takes a fall on evac. day after becoming infected with a virulent, disfiguring alien virus. Suddenly, the sick Wikus is a globally wanted man, his metamorphosing body the key to operating commandeered alien weaponry and possibly reactivating their mother ship. That he’s reduced to hiding out in the place that he attempted to shut down is just one irony in a blood-raw, jet-black skid into insanity. Directed and co-written by hotshot feature first-timer Neill Blomkamp, produced and presented by New Zealand auteur Peter Jackson, District 9 is graphically comdemning — and scariest of all is how very close it seems.