"No Enemy But Man"
DISTRICT 9 is an intense science fiction thriller that portrays a man’s attempt to hide and survive, after an alien virus he contracted makes him the most hunted – and most valuable – man in the world.
The movie opens with the background of the world in this alternate history. Some 20-odd years ago, more than a million aliens were given refuge in a makeshift, shantytown area of Johannesburg, South Africa. That refuge area – District 9 – was given to the aliens when they arrived in a dilapidated spaceship. Far from being the terrifying conquerors people had feared, these aliens were helpless and malnourished, without any purpose or plan. As such, they became the newest “non-human” rights issue and were placed in District 9 while the world tried to figure out what to do with them.
Decades later, control of the aliens has been contracted to Multi National United (MNU), whose attempts to use the alien weaponry technology toward lucrative ends have continually failed because activating the weaponry requires alien DNA. The aliens are still in District 9, and tensions have risen as hatred toward the segregated aliens becomes widespread. MNU’s solution to the alien problem is to move the aliens from District 9 to a new camp outside the city limits. During the early stages of the relocation attempts, however, Wikus van der Merwe (Shartlo Copley) contracts an alien virus that starts changing his DNA. Wikus is now the key to unlocking the secrets of alien technology. As a result, he becomes the most hunted – and most valuable – man in the world.
Although filled with excessive levels of both foul language and violence, DISTRICT 9 is exceptionally well produced. The young director (Neill Blomkamp) uses an unconventional mix of filmmaking styles to create an engaging, real life feel to an “obviously fictional” story line. His intriguing use of dramatic scenes, mockumentary footage, and real news video make the film an edge-of-your-seat, exciting ride. From the film’s earliest scenes, the viewer is drawn in and captivated – guessing what will happen after being fed little crumbs of effective foreshadowing.
Ultimately, the entire movie is a condemnation of apartheid, but this is diminished by the message that escape is the only answer, rather than reconciliation and Christian renewal of sinful hearts.
DISTRICT 9 also includes some very commendable and redeeming messages. Selfishness is cast in a very negative light. There is a message throughout about the importance of understanding and compassion toward people who are different. The movie also highlights the dangers of dehumanizing others. The alien “abortions” are done in such a disgusting way, that there is a subtle pro-life message. Wikus’s wife, Tania (Vanessa Haywood), remains faithful to her husband despite understandable fears and enormous social pressure. The alien Christopher Johnson (Jason Cope) is a selfless, protective father, clearly willing to suffer for his child’s sake. In the end, Wikus puts aside his own ambitions and takes on a Christ-like role, facing pain and death to give others the chance for a better life. Also, the media is propagandistic, implying the need for media wisdom.
Despite these commendable elements, DISTRICT 9 is filled with content that requires extreme caution for viewers. The film is packed with very graphic violence. The foul language is overwhelming and pervasive. There are multiple disturbing occult scenes, including numerous disgusting instances of cannibalism. There is no real authority structure in place. The military is depicted as self-serving, rebellious and vengeful. No explanation is given for the one alien’s more noble character, compared to the rest of his species’ barbarism. Moreover, there is no clear message of good versus evil. There is no mention of God whatsoever. Worse, especially for impressionable audiences, is the movie’s message that there is no enemy but man.
MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for DISTRICT 9 due to its very strong, slightly mixed pagan worldview, occult content, graphic violence, foul language, and neglect of God.
(PaPaPa, OO, CC, BB, APAP, PC, LLL, VVV, S, MM) Very strong, slightly mixed pagan worldview portraying a chaotic, survival-mode world without any real authority structure or a clear philosophy of good versus evil, combined with strong occult content including witch doctors and multiple graphic depictions of cannibalism as well as a strong message of redemption that’s pro-family and pro-life, plus a strongly negative, politically correct depiction of military forces, which are shown as a power-tripping revenge mechanism rather than a protector and enforcer of justice; excessive foul language includes at least 76 obscenities (the great majority of which were “f” words) and four profanities; very strong, excessive violence with numerous bloody scenes including lots of blood, many shoot outs, alien shot in the head at very close range, limbs blown off from gunfight and severed limbs shown, “aborting” alien fetuses by removing them from feeding tubes, lighting fetal housing on fire to kill the alien babies with fetuses bursting “like popcorn” from the heat, torture with electric shock and drill, killing innocent alien as target practice, bodies exploding from alien weaponry, blood splattered on camera lens, alien finger/claw chopped off with axe, and man’s head ripped off by aliens; no depicted sex, but implied inter-species prostitution and crude sexual conversation with mentions of “doggie style” and a question about condom use; no nudity but male alien in bright pink bra; no foreground alcohol use; no foreground smoking or drug use, but there may be background use in corrupt Nigerian arms dealer’s hideout; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes revenge killing, selfishness rebuked, movie implies man is promoted at work only because of nepotism, military rebels from rules by using violence and extra ammunition when directed not to, implied gambling over sadistic alien fight, cold-hearted father lies to daughter about her husband to cover up plan to dissect and kill infected son-in-law, pleasure taken in harming and killing aliens, implied genetic testing cruelty, authority in general shown as corrupt, and gangs portrayed as above the law.
DISTRICT 9 is an intense science fiction thriller. In an alternate history, a group of malnourished aliens have been placed into a South African refugee camp while the world decides what to do with them. Decades later, control of the aliens has been contracted to a company that attempts to use alien weapon technology to make money. Their attempts have failed because activating the weapons requires alien DNA. Menawhile, tensions have risen as hatred toward the segregated aliens becomes widespread. While the company tries to move the aliens to a new camp, a man contracts an alien virus that starts changing his DNA. The man is now the key to unlocking the secrets of alien technology. Consequently, he becomes the most hunted – and most valuable – man in the world.
DISTRICT 9 is exceptionally well produced. The director’s intriguing use of dramatic scenes, mockumentary footage, and real news video make it an edge-of-your-seat, exciting ride. DISTRICT 9 also includes some very commendable and redeeming messages. Even so, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for DISTRICT 9 because of its very strong, mixed pagan worldview, occult content, graphic violence, abundant foul language, and absence of God.