Wow! This film rocks. Okay, it’s not too subtle in how it uses the aliens arriving in South Africa as a metaphor for modern race relations, but the characterisation is so good that the film feels insightful rather than hackneyed. I’m not generally a fan of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings (which I find surprisingly lacking in terms of character depth), but I think this director’s come on as a story-teller since those films, moving to a not-so-bad King Kong and then onto what is quite a hard-hitting social commentary in the form of District 9.
The special FX are great, and used to desensitize the viewer so that they almost become complicit with the money-obssessed corporations who put no value on human life. And then we see the aliens behaving in a more ‘human’ way than the human characters. The whole thing leaves you feeling slightly ashamed of your own species.
For my money, District 9 is far better than Avatar, but I can see that District 9 is less comfortable viewing and therefore not the film that wins the popular (and popularist) Oscar vote. Overall 9/10.