District 9

Write down all the regular features in a Hollywood alien movie.

  1. Aliens are attacking the world
  2. It’s the end of the world soon
  3. Everyone looks up to USA
  4. Americans have the best ideas and put a task force together
  5. Big ticket actors for the BO
  6. Overdose of patriotism, heroism and sacrifice
  7. Billion bucks mind boggling CGI
  8. Finally all aliens are destroyed, America saves the Earth once again
  9. The End.

Let’s work on a story that is exactly opposite to the standard fair above. Aliens aren’t attacking, but they live amongst humans, for a change this is *not* happening in the USA. The actors are fairly unknown, no Michael Bay budget for graphics, the filming is raw and like surveillance footage. Thankfully the hero is forced to fight for it, hence heroism is non existent. The simple (though racist) human nature and politics looks very natural.

The ending, emotionally wrenching, leaves some loose ends untied, involving the audience to stitch the story back. An often used trick to either let the story linger in their minds, or for the, oh, sequel. It works well on both counts.

Easily the most original alien story in 30 years, after Ridley Scott’s brilliant Alien. And certainly a must watch!