Monday, August 17, 2009

Finding Truth in Alien Movies

For reasons I'm still digesting, 'District 9' might be the most important movie of the year.

I'm an amateur critic at best, but I know what makes a movie. 'District 9' combines all of the right elements to fashion something wholly true out of something wholly alien. Although the movie draws from a deep well of traditional action-movie standards (see: cursing, vaporizing aliens/humans, screaming) it reads like a moving war documentary, one you know is simultaneously indecent and incredibly true.

The actors won't win awards, but not because they weren't great. They were. Mostly because, (with the exception of the chinstrap-sporting badguy) throughout the movie, you really forgot they were actors. There were no dramatic monologues or one-liners agonized over by geniuses in the writing room. They were human (and alien) extensions of our reality. I think this is the central theme to the film.

The movie is terrifying, but not because of the aliens. I'm used to the alien antagonist, the inexplicably blood-drunk extra-terrestrial hellbent on human eradication. Those kinds of evils are safe, distanced. This movie was not. The evils in 'District 9' were found not unlikely futuristic circumstances, but in the truth of ruthlessness, which is far more transcendent.

This was a "drive home in silence" kind of movie. If you saw the movie with a few people, you might note the deflated sighs and general "it's hard to talk with a 50 pound weight on your chest" vibe 'round the auto.

I didn't dare reach for distraction.

I realize this is a vague and spotty review at best. But like I said, I'm still processing the movie; still digesting. It's like I prayed for 2 hours while eating the largest meal of my life. The 50 pound weight is getting a little lighter, but much of it is still there. And for some reason, I'm not ready for it to go away.


Matt said...

Well said.

backporchstories said...

I agree definitely on how terrifyingly realistic the directors and writers portrayed the people in this movie, its a shocking reminder that as grotesque and cruel we were willing to treat an alien race, we do just the same to people which is what definitely left me with a weighed down feeling. Its a movie that has an extremely deep life lesson in it that I'm still trying to completely figure out. As far as reviews go, it summed up what everyone else I'm sure feels after leaving that movie and is interesting enough to convince people who have yet to see it to go and understand what you mean

The Passerby said...

dude. saw it. wow.

it was a great film, i'm glad i saw, and i would see it again, but i dont know if i could truly say i "liked it". definitely piercing though.

im probably going to emulate you and unofficially review it.