Produce that good juice and hide the eggs because Sweetie Man is coming for you. Join us in the ranks as we discuss District 9. Quid Pro Mo brought to you by FilmBusters.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Released: August 2009
Writers: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Worldwide Gross: $210,888,950
Actors: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope
Breakdown and Analysis
- Paul: 8/10. This movie has changed Paul and his wife’s lives for always referring to prawns as fucking prawns. All the accolades to Sharlto for his first role and stealing the show. If aliens arrived today this is what would happen and continues to happen.
- Adam: 7/10. Third watch. Every watch is enjoyable at the start but the style is commonly used for comedies so it’s hard not to take it seriously. He gets what the film is doing but it loses him. Can see all the messaging but that is not enough. It’s not a bad film, it’s just not great.
- Ben: /10. Agrees with Adam. Really enjoyed the themes and idea but after getting over that, it goes nowhere. He appreciated the personal transformation but did not care for the last 30 minutes at the end. Wikus is an asshole and not a sympathetic character. We are made to see Wikus as heroic and Ben was not buying. He’s only upset because he wasn’t part of the system anymore.
- KT: 8.5/10. Similar to El Hoyo, she felt it wasn’t perfect but loved the themes and conversation it brings. The social commentary exemplified through characters learning or not learning. KT has managed to evade this movie for 10 years and this was a first watch. She agrees with Ben in regards to Wikus. Worried this would turn into a white saviour complex, which it wasn’t until 3/4 way through. It was a white self-serving dickhead that graduated into white saviour. Where Avatar failed in drawing Sci Fi with tangible themes, District 9 thrived. If you took nothing from this film, that is on you as it was there.
- Oti: 8.5/10. Frame of reference is everything. Oti was in awe of how he could draw parallels. District 9 is what he’s watched through news coverage. He resonated on many levels and experience. It’s far from perfect but it is Oti’s perfect Alien movie. This trascends Sci Fi and delves deeper than other in this genre that aim for social commentary. Delved into his love for Sci Fi, drawing out human nature. ‘Dehumanising’ aliens and putting them out of your memory. Oti was volunteering in NGOs and could see the themes being pulled. It was the first type of movie that surface these issues in a blockbuster film.
- If cinema resonates with you, it is so important.
- We are experiencing the story through Wikus lens. Our audience needed to identify with him so he was made to be more heroic. Would have been more interesting to explore the prawns. It felt like Jake Sully takes an acid trip in Johannesberg.
- We talk in abstract of aliens but there are real life parallels. It’s always the ‘other’. KT is not naturally a blonde hair, blue eyed gal in Australia. It’s always about needing to learn the language, integrate in some way, keep traditions to themselves. No one should have to experience being homeless but don’t build a drop in centre near me. A lot of the time the Aliens serve as a proxy for whatever you want to project on them. There is a negative connotation with projecting but in this case, it is about self reflection. There’s some real existential quandries that need to be reconciled, either on your own or with this movie. I will go to Africa to volunteer but not my actual neighbour.
- Blomkamp made a short film called A Life in Joburg and interviewed South Africans about Nigerians and Zimbabweans and the footage are genuine responses.
- This film is being approached more light hearted but if you change the word prawn, it totally changes the mood of the film. District 9 is based on District 6 an actual place in South Africa.
- It’s interesting to watch media that tackle racism and the impacts of it because it used to feel like a triumph because we have gotten past it. It is harder for KT to watch Lovecraft Country and Watchmen because of the steps we have gone backward.
- There are so many things to draw in real life. In Eastern Africa, there are cases where Albinoism is seen as a way to cure diseases.
- The Nigerians in this film felt like the Jamaican gang in Predator 2.
- The sense of stress and anticipation of what is going to happen held KT’s attention. It felt like an endless stream of scenes cut together which again helps to build that anticipation. The score accentuated how KT was already feeling. Oti felt the same sensation of playing a game especially with the hand held camera. It brought a sense of realism. The talking heads created some curiousity over how the well to do character could break bad.
- Ben likens Wikus to their current Prime Minister as a clown and goof. He is never the good guy. Always the idiot. The coward and super racist.
- Is there a stock photo for a scapegoat because it would certainly be Wikus. He is the Cyril Figgis in this movie.
- There are people that are outrightly shit people. There is a spectrum of racism. Wikus was someone that you wouldn’t necessarily punch you in the face but definitely call you a prawn. He was doing a celebratory dance and giving souvernoirs when he was literally aborting their offspring.
- With anything that resembles KT’s small cold heart, there’s only so much emotional investment to deposit in the film. Wikus was unashamedly and bravely sacrificing his life for Christopher Johnson took away from the compelling escape of Christopher Johnson and the wee baby Seamus.
- When Wikus starts to become an Alien but is resistant, what is he rebelling against? It’s the engrained hatred for the Aliens for so many decades was so strong that he would rather go back to where he was rejected instead of becoming the inevitable.
- We can’t rely on others to help and the liquid is the culture. Wikus starts to turn into a prawn when he starts to learn more about the culture. Ben has entered the chat, motherfuckers.
- We theorise what cat food could mean. Being viewed lower so not given human food. Oti and KT took it on a deeper level and bring example of crack cocaine to America.
- Wanted to take and use the Alien weapons felt similar to Vibranium in Black Panther.
- There is a skillset to be able to discuss films regardless of how you felt about it.
Unrelated but vital points
- KT makes a Mormon reference for the millionth time.
- Wishes upon all the stars to have an in the room collaboration.
- KT is running out of blazers for official announcements.
- No one drinks Fosters in Australia, or anywhere in the world.
- Lesson of the day: Don’t be an intentional dick.
- MVP: Adam’s Coco pops bowl.
For Your Reference