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District 9 - Journal of Omnifarious

Aug. 21st, 2009

10:20 pm - District 9

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Wow, that was a fantastic movie. It had one flaw. It was gorier than it needed to be in a few places, especially near the end.

The main character, especially, is completely believable. The society he finds himself in is demonstrably our society. How the various details play out is completely believable.

The movie also uses the interesting story telling device of frequently showing the story through the eyes of the cameras that are so ubiquitous around us that we hardly ever think of them. I don't recall ever having seen that done before, and I am nearly certain that it has never been done with the intention of reminding you that they exist. The movie makes statements on many levels about many things in our society.

I don't want to give anything away. The journey of the main character is the central pivot on which the movie rests. Anybody who told you anything about the decisions he makes and why would be spoiling something important.

It is not a pleasant movie to watch. Neither was Pan's Labyrinth. This movie, IMHO, is better than Pan's Labyrinth. I considered the violence, brutality and gore in Pan's Labyrinth to be absolutely necessary to tell the story. This is not as much the case in District 9. Much of it is necessary, but not all of it. And I would while I think most US movies are pornographic in their treatment of violence, I don't really think that of District 9.

I brought tazfrog to see this with me, and that was a mistake. No review I saw mentioned the gore and violence. If I had known this was a movie that was that emotionally jarring and brutal I wouldn't have brought her to see it with me. She spent large portions of the movie huddle against me, her face hidden. I did offer to leave in the middle even though I thought the movie was fantastic, but she chose to stay. I'm still sad I subjected her to it.

Current Mood: [mood icon] contemplative

Comments:

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From:gamerchick
Date:August 22nd, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
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I loved this movie, and I really agree with everything you said here. I especially liked the way that it dealt with racism, particularly ingrained/hidden institutional racism and how it is present in almost everyone to some degree, in a way that was subtle and not beat-you-over-the-head-with-our-message. The fact that the main character was not some super-enlightened anti-racist dude at the beginning of the movie, but rather a regular guy who understands things a bit more by its end, really helped with that.

And how awesome is Christopher Johnson?
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[User Picture]
From:omnifarious
Date:August 23rd, 2009 10:05 am (UTC)
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The thing I love about Christopher Johnson is how he/she/it manages to transcend all the bigotry and hatred. Chris has goals and the fact these things exist play into Chris' goals in various important ways that Chris takes into account without descending into cynical manipulation.

One of the things that really impressed me is how alien the aliens were. When I saw the Nigerians exchanging 100 cans of cat food for a cybernetic exoskeleton they'd never be able to use I was left wondering exactly who was scamming who and whether either side really understood the transaction from the point of view of the other side.

I'm left understanding that Chris was a great being among Chris' people, and would be a great soul among humankind were he/she/it translated somehow. And I understand some of Chris' motivations. But I still feel that a lot of what went on in Chris' mind was rather inscrutable.

I'm also guessing that the aliens would've found the main character to be very strange at the end of the movie.



Edited at 2009-08-23 10:07 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]
From:gamerchick
Date:August 23rd, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
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One of the things that really impressed me is how alien the aliens were. When I saw the Nigerians exchanging 100 cans of cat food for a cybernetic exoskeleton they'd never be able to use I was left wondering exactly who was scamming who and whether either side really understood the transaction from the point of view of the other side.

That's a terrific observation. For me, superficially that scene reminded me of how in history indigenous people were taken advantage of due to a different concept of exchange/commerce - but I hadn't thought about it from the other side, that the Nigerians are literally getting nothing of value, and for the aliens, hey, cat food.
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