Celebrating Great Films

Sunday, September 06, 2009

District 9

District 9#44 at time of writing.

Hollywood (specifically New Line Cinema) took a punt on Peter Jackson, entrusting $270 million to him to film Lord of the Rings despite the fact that the highlight of his CV until then was Heavenly Creatures. The investment paid off in spades, and now PJ has a blank slate to do whatever the hell he wants with Tinseltown's seemingly infinite money and influence.

So what does he do with it? Well, OK, first he finishes his project that had been shelved since about 1997 - King Kong - a cheesy and indulgent all-American movie, right up the Hollywood executives' alley.

But then he throws a curve ball. District 9 is a movie about aliens - so far so Hollywood. But it's set in Johannesberg, presented (mostly) like a documentary, it stars complete unknowns, and it's a cracking story bursting with originality and imagination. Anti-Hollywood on all four counts. Well done Mr Jackson, you are now my hero.

It's not a perfect film. Its metaphors are not subtle, and the storytelling has some hideous point-of-view violations, but the sheer wacky bravado of the endeavour means that all can be forgiven.

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