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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stone (2010)

Some people tell lies. Others live them.

Jack Mabry while appearing to live the life of a ‘good’ human being is confronted with thoughts that aren’t supposed to occur to such a person. He’s been married for over forty years, has never broken the law and works as a parole officer trying to reform people. But what does that do to him? There isn’t a soul he trusts; he’s carved that way. Prison inmates are trying to keep up with him by creating an impression and get him to believe that they’ve turned over a new leaf. With all the experience he’s had, he sees through all of it. Not for long.

Gerald Creeson better known as ‘stone’ is under the supervision of Jack. Empty and pointless is what he believes his life is as long as he’s in prison. There’s desperation to break free. He believes he deserves it. Attempting to needle the vulnerable side of Mabry by sending his sexy wife, Lucetta, to meet with him, he hopes to be released. How long could that last?

Lucetta is no femme fatale, as the trailer would have you believe. A buoyant, effusive, middle-aged nymphomaniac is what she is. Stone tells Jack that she’s an ‘alien’.

Madlyn, Jack’s wife is like stone. Jack has threatened her before and the memory of the experience doesn’t fade away. She’s stuck in a loveless marriage and doesn’t have the nerve to raise the issue about her ‘soul being kept in a dungeon’.

There’re some interesting issues raised by the film, and without being answered or taken a stand for or against, are put in front of us through the characters. Does sin come naturally to human beings? Does being physically imprisoned mean no freedom? Are we all hypocrites after all? Is it foolish to sought after the righteous path? Is there a definite righteous path? Is there a higher power watching over us and our actions?

Jack is the lead character and it’s his perspective that is the focal point of the film, which is why we don’t know what’s happening. Like him, we don’t know whether to trust the characters or not because clearly they all have their own motives. The narrative doesn’t intend to spoon-feed its viewers. You have to see the film again through the eyes of each character, pay attention to their reactions and understand their motives with which you determine whether they have done what Jack believes they did, or not. This is no ordinary thriller. It’s heavy. It’s complex. It’s an in depth character study. John Curran’s real deal is in displaying these characters, how they feel. What’s going on inside their heads.

Acting is first rate. Robert Deniro, a name that echoes unforgettable characters- Jake Lamotta, Travis Bicke, Jimmy Conway, Vito Corleone and a lesser known Rupert Pupkin, has shown that even at this age he’s capable of doing much more than what he’s been doing for the past ten years- frowning, cursing, head tilting and spastic nodding. Edward Norton, who has proven time and again that he’s not merely an actor with expressions but a character artist, delivers a gritty performance. This one’s nothing like his other characters. People have complained about this role being similar to Primal fear and American History X particularly because all three of them are prisoners but that’s just being myopic. That’s like saying Robert Deniro is not versatile because he’s played only gangsters and tough guys, or even more abstract- in almost every movie of his, he’s malicious. It’s not what viewers choose to reduce those complex characters to, with a word or two. It’s the way the characters are played. Vito Corleone and Jimmy Conway are both Italian Mafiosos but are their characters similar? Not at all. In spite of all the praise I’ve given these two actors, it is Milla Jovovich who steals the film. Her performance is something that I’d characterize as a combination of Karen Black in Five easy pieces and Uma Thurman in Pulp fiction. She’s the soul of the film. Frances Conroy is spot on with the character. She doesn’t have much screen time but when she’s on screen, you see her dying within and losing hope, shred by shred.

The director, John Curran and the screenwriter, Angus Maclachlan have made an original film that works only because the actors understand its subtleties. The other elements although unable to atomize themselves on independent merit are all appropriate. The sound design is at a strangely different frequency focusing more on background noises, the score is haunting and the cinematography, I have to point out, would’ve really enriched the feel of the film had it been shot in black and white with low key lighting- in the realm of film noir. What’s left at the end is an incomplete puzzle of a film that you’re expected to finish. Stone doesn’t go easy on you. It is a film of major distinction that made me feel privileged as a film viewer. For my intelligence was not just respected, but trusted.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

How I Met Your Mother (2005 - )

On First attempt, I watched three episodes of the first season. I’ve seen films as long as 4 hours (Once upon a time in America) and I can’t remember myself feel time move slower than it did for each episode of “How I met your mother”. If you take an IQ test before and after watching an episode, and plot a graph, it would result in a downward slope. Its objective is to burn your brain cells and it is successful at doing so. Well done. Its setting has some random guy whom you don’t see on screen (Thank the creators for that, we have enough imbeciles on one show) telling his kids how he met their mother. They feel like they’re being punished. Unfortunately, they’re not alone. We, the audience, feel more punishment than any of them. (For those of you who’re fans of the series, I feel I’d be being rude if I didn’t put it in imbecile-friendly words-I don’t mean it’s because we empathize with them but because the show is excruciating (Oh, forgive me, I mean painful))

People around didn’t take my criticism lightly and urged me to watch it again, this time with the suspension of disbelief. I didn’t want to be a contrarian, so I gave it a second chance with episodes “Swarley” and “Stuff” from Season 2. It was a laugh riot. The series' creators, the joke. A horrible, mind numbing experience is what it was. It’s no surprise though, that its acquired a huge fan following, a majority of which, probably includes lonely women who’re willing to go to the extent of spending time with a charismatic (effeminate in my opinion) supporting TV character to make up for their insipid life, and guys who’re trying to learn one-night-stand moves from the same, Barney Stinson. Sure, he’s a funny character but what’s new? We’ve seen so many of them. On the contrary, there is something that’s sincerely funny- Neil Patrick Harris while being a homosexual in real life plays a straight guy here. And fans are thinking “Wow, what a daring actor.” He disappears into a character that’s defined to the T by one word, womanizer. Alas! How could I forget the pitch perfect dialogue delivery of larger-than-life dialogues such as “Suit up.” Each time Harris says that, it’s his dignity he’s suiting down.

Everyone involved in this is trying so hard to sell. Slow down, there’re enough whores in the industry. There’s not an ounce of sense, realism, subtlety or creativity. ‘The Simpsons’ is more realistic and its characters despite being more improbable are believable. I know. I know. You’re probably going to say, so what “it’s fun!” Fun? Only if the rest of your day involves staring at the hour hand of a clock.

In a season where Martin Scorsese has stepped into the television scene and directed the pilot of “Boardwalk Empire”, there’re actually people waiting for the next season of “How I met your mother.” Just what the hell? If you watch and enjoy this drivel so much, let me let you in on a little secret, the creators have no respect for the intelligence of the viewers and hence the excessive use of canned laughter. They don’t believe you’ll get the jokes unless they prompt it with previously recorded laughter. And You? You think they’re AMAZING. Please, have a little self-respect.

Rating - 3/10, for a culturally fitting opening theme.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Dry White Season(1989)

The story takes place in 1976 in South Africa, around the Soweto riots, during the Apartheid system that lasted from 1948 until 1994. Students of African origin are protesting against education in a vernacular medium. They don’t want to end up working as messengers, mine workers and gardeners. One of them in the rally, Jonathon is caught and whipped. His father, Gordon, a gardener is worried that his police record would ruin his future and so he approaches Ben(Donald Sutherland), his white boss for help. Turning a blind eye to the unjust practices of the government, he just says they must’ve had a reason.

The boys refuse to quit protesting and strike again. This time, however, it turns out really ugly. The cops open fire and many children are killed. Jonathon is taken to prison and beat up unto death. A troubled Gordon tries to take it up with the court with the help of a witness inside, but in vain. He’s arrested and tortured until he gives up the witness but enduringly, succumbs to his injuries. Ben, on the other hand, tormented being by his own conscience refuses to look the other way this time. He takes the matter into is own hands and approaches a Human Rights lawyer, McKenzie who suggests that he “chuck the lot”. He replies saying “That’s what I said to Gordon when his son was whipped, that’s what I said when his son was killed and now they’re both dead because of my neglect. I cannot give it up.”

There’re a few memorable courtroom scenes displaying blatant corruption and second class treatment by the legal system of the blacks. Unfortunately, that’s all there is, from the director, Euzhan Palcy. If you’re moved by anything in the film, it is its subject. It is a sensitive subject and anyone who’s intolerant to injustice will have some feeling evoked. The film simply has no tone and there is some safri duo kind of music played repeatedly in the background which is completely unnecessary. We’ve been told enough that it takes place in South Africa we don’t need the score to tell us that just as many times. Furthermore, there’re some unforgivable technical flaws in many aspects. She’s had a clear vision but been very negligent with respect to the small details. She just wanted the story told and she does it with little consistency.

All in all, I’ll have to call this a bad film that could’ve been worse if not for its on the mark acting. The real standout of the film is Donald Sutherland who turns in a terrific performance personifying perfectly the lead character’s political awakening.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Viva Zapata(1952)

Emiliano Zapata is a delegate of an aggravated union that is rebelling against a long time corrupt president who dismisses their claims as trivial. While most of the union members choose to be patient with the issue, Zapata who says " We sow our seeds with tortillas not patience" remains unyielding. They go to war, they overthrow two presidents, a general and it finally the throne comes to Zapata.

Zapata is faced with the same problem when his brother Eufemio Zapata starts doing what he wants with no respect for the law, he takes the land that belongs to the farmers and abuses their wives. Zapata tells these men that there is no such thing as a leading man and that "You have to find it in yourselves." He resigns from his presidency post and leads another mutiny for the farmers. He's been bribed with property, money and gratitude from big men but nothing means more to him than to be at the vanguard of an army of peasants. This thing in particular seems to have inspired the main character of The Hurt Locker.

Although it fails to be as great as Elia Kazan's best works, it definitely can be considered a good film. There're some very memorable scenes and both Anthony Quinn and Marlon Brando are excellent in their respective roles. Brando created 3 consummately different characters in 4 years, Zapata, Terry Malloy(On The Waterfront) and Stanley Kowalski. Another film, released in these golden years of Kazan's career, I happened to miss was Julius Caesar, another role that received recognition from the Academy. On that, you'll see in my next review. But, to conclude, if acting happens to be an important aspect of a film to you, you should watch Brando deliver some really fierce acting chops in Viva Zapata.

Rating - 8/10

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On The Waterfront (1954)

One thing I can guarantee about On the Waterfront, is that it is a film you won’t be able to admire on the first watch. You’ll just wonder, is this what the hype is all about? When a film is made so well, you get engulfed into the world and become part of the world. You just perceive everything in a matter of fact way. On second watch, you don’t get into the world because you’re already familiar with it. It isn't a complex psychological thriller or a Tarantino film. This time, you remain an external entity. You enjoy the pleasures the film has to offer.

Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), a simple minded dockworker winds up being a witness to a murder. One that he has been made an accessory to, coming to know of it only after the murder's been committed. No, all of this is given straightforward. It's his guilt that determines the future of his actions which is the film's main focus and how his lawyer brother, his rags to riches boss, an enraged priest and the sister of the murdered guy, try to bring him to their side of the fence.

Let me get done with the flaws first. One part of the film that seemed completely unnecessary was the relationship between the sister of the murdered guy(who also happens to be a sister in the church) and Terry Malloy. The poor chemistry is something a five year old can ascertain and bet his life on. How can she love a person whom she believes "lives like an animal and has no feelings." But considering the epic feat the film achieves as a whole, we forgive this. There's a very memorable scene in a car between the two brothers which sticks to you long after it's gone. You see what has brought Terry Malloy to such a sense of resignation. And Brando in those scenes.. it's worth writing an entire paragraph on.

From The Godfather and A Streetcar named desire, we saw Brando work on two different planes. With On the Waterfront, he reaches a new dimension. It’s simply impossible to tell which of the three is better than the other. All three of them are delivered with the same magnitude, on three different axes. It just amazes me, how acting had evolved so much in the 50's but now, over fifty years later, we hardly have any of that caliber.

The main strength of the film lies in a co-ordinated effort between its cinematography and its editing. Although each scene stands on its own merit, it’s the cohesiveness of the scenes that makes the film feel spontaneous. Just great.

The supporting actors are excellent. Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb and Karl Malden, all of them. The actors were all nominated for an Academy award with none of them winning. It seems to me that the Academy loved all of them so much they couldn’t choose between the three.

The soundtrack is old school and it is the best fit. Elia Kazan has shown to be one of the best talents of the 50s. Considered an actor’s director, he brought out the best female performance ever on screen from Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named desire, a performance and film I strongly admire and recommend as much as I do with On The Waterfront.

Rating- 9/10

Thursday, February 4, 2010


If there's anything about Invictus that is great, it is Clint Eastwood's brilliant direction. A director known for creating melodramatically lopsided films, this time has taken the most uninteresting part of Nelson Mandela's life and made a movie out of it. Leaving out his years in prison, his struggle against the apartheid in South Africa and his rise to presidency, Eastwood chooses to focus on his involvement as a cheerleader(pun intended) for a rugby game.

There're problems everywhere in South Africa- people are homeless, shortage of food, crime rates are increasing, people are unemployed and the economy is down. Nelson Mandela has all of these problems to fix but there's no urge. He needs a driving force. That is The Springboks rugby team of South Africa. Francois Pienaar leads the rugby team. Mandela leads the country. This is what they have in common. He wants Pienaar to lead Springboks and win the world cup so that he can draw inspiration from it to lead his nation to stability.

Morgan freeman is an actor who slips into roles that he can fit in. He doesn't get into a character out of his comfort zone, unlike the great Daniel Day-Lewis, one of the most daring actors of today. His accent and mannerisms are similar to Mandela's, yes, but even that sometimes goes out of synchronization and reminds us that this is Morgan freeman, not Nelson Mandela. When I think of biopic actors resembling their subjects, the first that comes to my mind is Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull- a complete disappearance into character. What went in and came out was De Niro, but that character had nothing of De Niro in it. Freeman will be remembered for The Shawshank Redemption and Million Dollar Baby, not for Invictus. He probably had some left over love from the Academy to be preferred over Sharlto Copley in District 9.

Matt Damon's vigorous Oscar-worthy performance as the uncompromising Springboks captain is filled with the right amount of power that is required from a supporting role. After being snubbed for The Talented Mr.Ripley, this was a good make up by the academy.

Both of these actors are just the underlying bricks that Eastwood uses to build something that lies solely on his shoulders. His talent as a filmmaker seems to age like wine. Last year, we saw him transform from a good actor to a great actor and this year, he proves once again that as a director, he's legendary.

Most people are calling it this year's Frost Nixon, but personally, it brought back memories of Slumdog Millionaire. An entire nation following something, rooting together for the same thing with the hope of being able to share the team's joy.

This is a film where you know exactly what is going to happen once you've watched the trailer. A straight-forward film with a predictable trajectory, nonetheless an enjoyable one.

Rating 8/10

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oscar Predictions

Best Picture-
An Education
Up in the Air
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
500 days of summer
A Serious Man

Best Director-
Kathryn Bigelow- The Hurt Locker
James Cameron- Avatar
Jason Reitman- Up in the Air
Lee Daniels- Precious
Neill Blomkamp- District 9

Best Actor-
Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
Colin Firth- A Single Man
Morgan Freeman- Invictus
Jeremy Renner- The Hurt Locker
Sharlto Copley- District 9

Best Actress-
Sandra Bullock- The Blind Side
Meryl Streep- Julie and Julia
Carey Mulligan- An Education
Gabourey Sidibe- Precious
Emily Blunt- The Young Victoria

Best Supporting Actor-
Christoph Waltz- Inglourious Basterds
Alfred Molina- An Education
Peter Sarsgaard- An Education
Woody Harrelson- The Messenger
Anthonie Mackie- The Hurt Locker

Best Supporting Actress-
Mo'Nique- Precious
Anna Kendrick- Up in the Air
Vera Farmiga- Up in the Air
Paula Patton- Precious
Melanie Laurent- Inglourious Basterds

Best Original Screenplay-
Mark Boal- The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino- Inglourious Basterds
Joel and Ethan Coen-A Serious Man
Scott Neustadter & Michael H.Webber-500 days of summer
Bob Peterson & Pete Docter-Up

Best Adapted Screenplay-
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner- Up in the Air
Neill Blomkamp- District 9
Nick Hornby- An Education
Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers- Where the Wild things are
Geoffrey Fletcher- Precious

Friday, January 29, 2010

An Education(2009)

Sometimes an education isn't by the book. This is the tagline of "An Education." Set in England in the 1960s, where women were less wary, it revolves around the life of a teenage girl, Jenny. A bright inquisitive girl on her way out of school, inclined to art- literature, music, painting and french films. She belongs to a conservative, "bourgeois" family that is keen on her getting into Oxford.

Her life is routine. She studies, plays the cello and gets bored, oblivious of the fact that she's actually feeling bored. Only after you've done something exciting do you feel that by missing it, you are bored.

In walks David, a middle aged man who gives her a lift on a rainy day and then sends her flowers wishing her luck arousing suspicion. Peter Sarsgaard is suitably slick and edges towards creepy as the middle-aged smooth talker who seduces her by fulfilling her enthusiasm for conversation, cigarettes, literature, French films, jazz, expensive restaurants -- and yes, a connection to a man who understands her, unlike those "teddy boys" who wobble about on their bicycles while trying to get her attention. Once he's finished charming Jenny's parents he slowly begins working his magic on her with the audience feeling its side effects. Just his ornate presence on screen will make you side with him. You'll think "Yeah, he's an older guy. So what? He's still a nice guy."

Carey mulligan knows this girl, Jenny. She probably was Jenny at some point in her life. You get to see Jenny right there on screen. I don't know what I can appreciate of it because it might not actually be acting. Imagine being asked to get on screen and play yourself, would you deserve credit? Had I read the screenplay, the woman whom I would've pictured in mind would've been a lot like Mulligan. Teachers at school warn her that this Mr.Rochester figure is a suave sexual predator ready to pounce on her, but she takes that chance. By making a subtle reference to the influential novel "Jane Eyre" it is hinted that Jenny is fascinated by the idea of dating an older man.

Alfred Molina deserves all the acclaim that he's been getting for his portrayal of Jack, Jenny's father, a Bigot whose social life is limited to Jenny and her mother. He goes out of his way to be cordial to a friendly stranger and ends up giving his daughter's hand to him in marriage. All the trust that he never dared to put in people all his life, he invests in David.

The main thing about the performances is that this cast is a damn good team. Unlike Inglourious basterds, Up in the Air and Precious where we saw the actors slyly intervening for the spotlight, this is a mutual effort. The best part of An Education is its acting synergism. Lone Sherfig probably chose people who loved their roles more than the script. Going by the buzz, a Best Picture and Best Actress nomination is guaranteed, but I can't be sure if it will or should win. One award I really think it deserves more than any other film of the year is the Screen Actors Guild award for an outstanding performance by a cast, an award that will be added by The Academy in the future.

Lone Sherfig has given the film just the right touches. Where this movie is leading you to, isn't the point at all. It is the journey. There might be many paths you could take to get to the destination but Lone Sherfig pushes you in the direction she wants you to and yet you feel at ease. This isn't a compelling film. When I say that, I don't mean it as a flaw. She takes the age-old story of the "young girl, married man leads to disaster" and revitalizes it. The screenplay is well written by Nick Hornby with witty, sarcastic and contemptuous dialogues- a trademark of the brits. The point of the film isn't to judge how naive girls were but how people get sucked into believing that a dream can transform into reality.

A wonderful coming of age film that requires multiple watches to get its entirety, "An Education" is one of the years very best picking up its spot right at the top beside "Up in the Air" and "District 9."

Rating- 10/10

Friday, January 15, 2010


If you're amazed by feats that human beings achieve, you MUST watch Vallavan. Take my word, it will astonish you. Not because it shows you the heights up to which the human intellect can go, but because it opens your eye to the fact that, there exists no bottom.

Self deluded film-maker, T.R Silambarasan believes he is all that is required to make a film. He assumes himself to be the director, the screenwriter and the Lead actor. Only, what he does give birth to is a deformed offspring of a film. This is what happens to you when you take charge of all three primary roles, you fuck yourself and you get fucked.

T.R Silambarasan giving himself the privilege of collecting thrown up pongal.

I am not going to go into the details of the story because even the slightest of information would spoil it. Yes, it is unpredictable. Very unpredictable. Sherlock holmes would agree. So would Sigmund Freud. The degree to which self-indulgence and dementedness can possibly reach, is something that hasn't existed in the world I live in, until now. Seriously, what was he thinking? Was he thinking? As an actor I wouldn't blame him. You do what you have to for that fat paycheck. But then again, you wrote the screenplay and directed the film. Why couldn't he put someone else? The answer is simple, people here are idiots. They want you to do things that they wanted to do but never had the balls to. He knows this. He strips himself of dignity and integrity and acts retarded to expand his fan club and increase his bank balance. You Hack, are you aware that films are a form of art? And guess what, he succeeds with his intentions.

It became a box office hit that ran for 100 days and was later dubbed into telugu. What does this say about Kollywood? It needs more honest directors like M.Sasikumar who directed Subramaniapuram, a film that was expertly directed with artistry, at the same time, preserving its tradition.

You might wonder why I let myself be tortured with this utter crap. I contemplated quite a few times on turning off the television set, but I came to realize that there have been a lot of films this year that I've loved and now I needed to hate. So, human beings, if you feel like 2009 was a showcase for good films, this is just what you need.

Rating- 0/10

Friday, January 8, 2010

Up in the Air(2009)

Jason reitman has an interesting point of view on the corporate world. In "Thank you for smoking", we saw a man who "talked for a living", a man who went around defending the tobacco industry. There's another man who goes from company to company telling people they've been let go of. As if that wasn't enough, he reassures them that it is not a misfortune, but an opportunity to let go of a life they loathe. "Up in the air" tells us the story of that man.

In a period of economic recession, it is only the firing companies that thrive on the losses of other companies. Ryan Bingham works for one of these companies. He calls himself a career termination facilitator. He has a secretary, a boss and a home. But they're not a major part of his life. The majority of his life is spent at hotels, airports and in aeroplanes. There exists no real connection between him and other human beings. A middle-aged bachelor executive closing in on 10 million frequent-flier miles, Ryan has his own protocols which he strictly follows. His philosophy is simple- Life is a backpack. He says "Human beings are the heaviest component of our lives." A heavy backpack will slow us down and "the slower we move the faster we die." He is incomprehensible and you don't know much about how he feels and you aren't supposed to, that is, until two women enter and become an important part of his life.

The performances in the film, every one of them, can be described in one word- Invisible. When the movie starts, thanks to the hype, you sit and watch, waiting for something brilliant to happen. To see some REAL acting. But you don't. As time progresses, you forget all the hype and you just watch it as it is, forgetting that all of this is staged. Clooney was born for the role. He is pitch-perfect in playing a guy who is distant yet magnetic, charming and brims with vitality. Anna Kendrick and Vera farmiga don't have as much screen time but when they are with him on screen, they match his energy.

Jason Reitman has done a great job in holding all the pieces of the puzzle together. He gives prominence to the themes in the film by his use of colour schemes. Only after watching "Up in the Air" did I realise that he had done the same in Juno as well. "Juno" had a mix of bright, bold and rich colours- Red,Orange,and yellow to emphasize on it being a simple,breezy and buoyant comedy. "Up in the Air" is more of white and black since it deals with the corporate world. It shows a clear distinction between things. We know Ryan is lonely. The only thing that makes us feel it is his use of colour schemes. Ryan's house was picked to have the barest of necessities and what colour makes that more obvious than white?

Despite the film being shallow in content, it is deftly executed with an equal blend of drama and clever,sarcastic comedy. An engaging, thought provoking film so perfect for its time, it is destined to become a classic. "Up in the Air" will be welcomed by The Academy with a red carpet and maybe an orange one for Jason Reitman.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

District 9 (2009)

To be honest, I'm not really a fan of Science fiction films. I hated "The Matrix" and "The Terminator" series. In fact, the only reason I chose to watch"District 9" over "An Education" was because it has been a while since I've bashed a film. But to my disappointment, I happen to be in great admiration for the film.

Visual effects artist, Neill Blomkamp got his film education not from watching movies but from watching CNN, BBC, NGC and Discovery channel. He employs a cinema verite style in his directorial debut, District 9. There hasn't been a greater breakthrough in recent years. The last I can remember are "American Beauty" in 1999 and "Amores perros" in 2000. Yes, those were the most memorable debuts. But this one although not as great, will be the most memorable debut because it will make me watch films of the Sci-Fi genre, one that is new to me.

A lot of films have released in the past ten years where the narrative is presented as a documentary pieced together from footage, filmed in real time. District 9, however, is incomparable. It doesn't simply abuse the shaky camera, but combines fast cutting technique so that before you judge and appreciate it in the cinematic sense, you get conned, swallowing everything you see. It really is, "Transformers" for the thinker.

Its initial premise isn't very original. Aliens land on earth. For some reason, they choose Johannesburg, South Africa. They come in a spaceship but this time, they're malnourished, so they're harmless. Only, its human beings who are a danger to them. These human beings intend to send them back but love their weapons. So they're kept here and used as lab rats in medical experiments. All of this monitored by MNU, Multinational United. Enters, Wikus van de Merwe, a worker at MNU. He is ordered to give the aliens an eviction notice. Little does he know, that he's the one being evicted.

The only performance I can recollect from District 9 is that of Sharlto Copley, the lead. You see everything that happens in his life. He delivers what is expected from a simpleton who gets exploited. There is a scene in the film where he sees himself on screen being accused of having sexual intercourse with a prawn. On any other occasion, I would've found it hilarious. But Sharlto Copley's performance made me feel pity.

I don't know why, but I think that Neill Blomkamp and James Cameron both engage in bestiality and haven't had enough. In just one month, I've seen two films in which the main character's relationship is with an alien.

Grazing upon themes such as apartheid and Xenophobia, District 9 is a fresh,original and riveting film with high brow visual effects. A definite contender in the best original screenplay and best picture category but sadly, not in the best director.

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