Remember when I said movies this summer was disappointing? Well, I may have been just a little bit hasty.
I went into the cinema knowing absolutely nothing about District 9 other than that it had aliens in it and slums were somehow involved. I hadn't even seen a trailer.
District 9 is old-school science fiction. You will see none of the shiny, clean lines that most people think of when they think of sci-fi. It's gritty, often very violent. When I first saw Wikus Van Der Merwe (he's the main character person), I was struck by the casual cheerfulness with which he did evil. He doesn't see himself or his acts as evil of course – he was just following the rules. There was a scene quite early on when Wikus was asking an alien to sign an eviction notice and the alien refused. Wikus then threatened to take the alien's child away due to "unsafe living conditions". Pure evil. When the shit hits the fan though … well no, he's still evil, but the shit does a very good job of hitting the fan.
The plot of course is predictable but you don't see this movie for the plot twists. You see it for the commentary. How bureaucracy can be evil. How the aliens are treated as sub-human scum. How the strong preys on and devours the weak. Still, I don't think one viewing is enough to do justice to this movie. I'm sure there are things I've missed and I look forward to seeing this again.
EDIT 22/08/2009: Listen to The /Filmcast review of District 9. It's very good but there will be spoilers.