I wasn’t really sure what to expect when a friend recommended District 9.  Further into the movie, it becomes evident that under the skillful direction of Neill Blomkamp, together with the poignant portrayal of the lead character Wikus van de Merwe by Sharlto Copley, and impressive aliens designed by the acclaimed Weta Workshop, the four 2010 Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, and Best Editing are fully warranted.

It was quite a pleasant surprise – although it was by no means relaxing to watch.  District 9 is relevant, intense, riveting, and insightful… seamlessly incorporating science fiction elements to present very real and timely issues surrounding the disturbing actual events of social segregation produced by xenophobia.

It is not, by any chance, a movie where one sits back and allows oneself to be mindlessly entertained, but instead, one which holds us in its grip from the onset until the conclusion.

It can only be hoped that we emerge from viewing the movie more aware of the sobering social realities and moved to not further contribute to existing social discord by further indulging in intolerance, ignorance, and discrimination.

District 9 reminds us of the ironic truth that being human does not automatically confer humanity upon us.  Hopefully, we become inspired to develop, preserve, and enhance our humanity through courageously taking the first step of keeping an open mind towards the different and the unknown.

(c) Niconica 2010

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