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District 9

You are not welcome here. 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Neill Blomkamp 
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt  
An image from District 9

Twenty years ago, a gigantic space-ship carrying a group of lost and stranded aliens appeared in the sky above Johannesburg. The aliens were granted asylum on Earth. Fast-forward 20 years and the ‘prawns’, as the locals call them, have been herded into a government camp called District 9 that is rapidly becoming a ghetto. A private military outfit is contracted to clear up the camp and move the aliens to a new settlement in the wilderness. Their leader, Wikus (Copley) is raiding the camp when he finds a strange canister and accidentally spills some liquid on to himself. That night, he is forced to go to hospital when he discovers his left arm has mutated into that of an alien...

District 9 was one of the sleeper hits of 2009, and it’s easy to see why. Director Neill Blomkamp was given $30m and told to make whatever he liked, and the film looks and feels even better than a Hollywood sci-fi extravaganza made on many times the budget. Shot in mock-documentary style, with interviews and CCTV footage, you can’t help but be completely engrossed as Wikus turns to the aliens for help and learns to work against his former employers and their plans.

There’s no way to avoid comparing the plight of the aliens with the Apartheid era in South Africa, and Blomkamp has said that he was partially inspired by the days of District Six and racial hatred. If anything, this gives District 9 an extra edge, a more intelligent and thought-provoking flavour than anything Hollywood has produced recently. Truly one of the most interesting and thrilling films of the last few years, District 9 is definitely worth a watch.

Marcus Kelly

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Spring Term (35mm)
2009/2010 Spring Term (35mm)