RAMBO + E.T. + Alien 2 + CNN = formula for brain-melting awesomeness.
District 9 is the very best film I've seen in years. Yes, years. Going in, I thoroughly expected Neill Blomkamp to deliver a hell of a film. But not this good. District 9 delivers on all fronts, firing on all cylinders, nailing every mark. It's emotional. It's visceral. It's action-packed. It has stomach-churning suspense. And most delightfully surprising of all, it's punctuated with little doses of heartwarming zest, the likes of which film legend Steven Spielberg provided for our families in E.T. nearly 30 years ago.
For those of you who somehow dodged the machine-gun fire of advertising for District 9, I didn't know much more than you do about the film before I saw it. As the trailer states, "There are a lot of secrets in District 9." And it's best left that way. Blomkamp does a great job of easing you into the state of affairs and periodically leaves little morsels of information along your trail, leading your unblinking eyes to the exhilarating conclusion.
The opening segments introduce you to a sci-fi plot that might come off silly if it weren't for Blomkamp’s brilliant grasp of subtlety coupled with liberal use of a live newscast film style. The gritty, unapologetic realism of it all is absorbing. It's the kind of escape you get so lost in that the theater around you disappears along with your plans for tomorrow and the world you once lived in - because now you are in this world.
You are there with creatures so photo-realistic you resist the urge to reach out and touch the rigid surface of their exoskeletons. You are there, wincing at the smell of burning garbage and muck-ridden dirt roads. You are there, laughing at the odd curiosity of beings ignorant to the trivialities of our world and the funny ways they interact. Before you know it, you are caring deeply for the fate of something not human. You are resenting humanity and perhaps even feel twinges of shame spark up and down your spine. You feel disgusted by our intolerance of difference.