If you have watched the District 9 trailer thinking that you know what the movie is about, you are wrong. The trailer doesn’t reveal anything about the plot, except the fact that the guy who got exposed to the “alien matter” seems to hint something. Did you guess that he got mutated? Correct. Did you guess that this is a typical alien-horror plot where aliens go around killing humans? Wrong. Is it one of the “save-the-planet” plot? Far from that.
It’s entirely documentary, it’s a bit of horror, it’s a lot of blood and gore, it’s a lot of sci-fi, but it’s mainly drama. It’s one of the rare cross-genre movies, and it does it well.
The movie practically leaves you no time to relax. You are brought up to speed with the documentary-style editing. Every piece of information, every scene and frame, is bite-sized details and critical to the story. And before you knew it, you are being led into the plot and then the story quickly unfolds halfway through the movie. Just when you thought you kindda knew what the movie is finally about, it goes into full-action mode, bringing you into another experience. Chasing sequences, intense battle scenes, questions that are gradually understood. And then comes the final third of the movie where it dwells into emotions and morals. It’s clever how the scriptwriter uses the protagonist to take a more convincing role of empathising the aliens as he gradually mutates into one of them.
While this movie is a commercial success in USA, it’s practically off the box-office radar in Singapore. Another example of how lack of marketing promotion led movie-goers to miss some gems. I only got to know about this movie from some website banners, and got intrigued that it’s a Peter Jackson production. Then as I searched the local cinema screenings, I couldn’t find this movie listed as “Coming Soon” or “Preview”. Thinking that it will only be shown after the worldwide launch, I left it there until I was told it did screen, but only in Cathay cinemas.
Every veteran movie-goer should watch District 9. It has a bit of everything, and it delivers a new experience. It’s not another Hollywood-formula film that many movies are guilty of.