Martin Teller's Movie Reviews

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District 9

Posted by martinteller on August 16, 2009

My wife fell asleep during this movie, and she might have had the better time.  While the special effects are impressive and some of the social commentary is intriguing, it’s marred by some poor filmmaking decisions.  Never mind the veritable mountain of unanswered questions regarding the aliens.  There are bigger problems here.  The documentary style hurts a lot more than it helps.  Blomkamp uses it to add a dimension of realism, but abandons it (or severely stretches it) when it suits his purposes, such as reaching for a formulaic emotional beat.  Ultimately it ends up being shaky-cam and closed circuit footage just for the hell of it.  And the allegorical nature of the film is extremely blunt, almost insultingly so at times.  Okay, doing it with a sci-fi/alien twist is kind of interesting, but only for so long.  Which is perhaps why it ends up following the Generic Action Flick template by the end.  I did like it that there was a certain amount of complexity to the main character… at least until his final arc which veers into clichédom.  I didn’t outright hate the movie, but it was pretty disappointing.  Rating: 5

Addendum 8/19/09: On reflection, I was too harsh.  I’m still bothered by the same issues, but not as much, and the film did have a poignant ending.  Rating: 7


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