>I’ve read reviews of District 9 that praise its edgy first half and complain that it all goes a bit Hollywood towards the end. Well, I think they’re missing the point. I saw this movie last night and didn’t once take my eyes off the screen, or my attention off the tale. It’s precisely because the first few reels are so fresh and pacy and challenging that director Neill Blomkamp earns the right to crank up the action as the film progresses. The documentary edginess never goes away but Blomkamp’s not scared to please the crowd too. There’s the odd missed beat – most notably when the mismatched human and alien buddies escape a little too abruptly from a high-security research centre – but for the most part this is pitch-perfect.
In the lead role, Sharlto Copley is utterly convincing as the tank-topped, moustachioed pen-pusher whose life takes an unexpected turn while he’s evicting a bunch of alien interlopers from a Johannesburg shanty town. Somehow Copley manages to take this unlikeable character from bigoted nerd to unlikely hero … and a guy you genuinely root for. The aliens (or prawns) are seamlessly integrated into the restless hand-held footage, as is their giant mothership hovering over the city. It all romps along at a fair old lick, never flagging, always demanding your attention, whether through its grimy eye-candy or the affecting and naturalistic performances.
Prawns rule. I’ll never look at seafood the same way again.