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Seemingly helpless extraterrestrials arrive on Earth and are treated like any other vulnerable minority - as if they're subhuman - in this startling mix of sci-fi action and trenchant social drama from producer Peter Jackson (
The Lord of the Rings
). By framing events as a mock-documentary set in his native Johannesburg, writer/director Neill Blomkamp makes obvious reference to the shadow of apartheid, but the film never seems preachy. Heading a largely unknown South African cast, Sharlto Copley delivers a remarkable performance as the glib Afrikaaner bureaucrat heading up a brutal alien-relocation operation, who's forced by escalating events into an affecting realisation of the error of his ways. It may give way to (admittedly effective) shoot-'em-up fare in the later stages, but this remains a textbook example of fantasy cinema's ability to tackle thorny moral issues while splattering the screen with gloopy creature effects.
Alien refugees who arrived in South Africa in the 1980s are placed in segregation camps, and suffer three decades of racial abuse at the hands of their human neighbours. However, things begin to change when a bureaucrat charged with moving the extraterrestrials to a more secure home suffers a grim accident and is given a radically different perspective on the affair, and little choice but to team up with the extra-terrestrials. Sci-fi drama, starring Sharlto Copley and Jason Cope.
Cast & Crew
Wikus van de Merwe
Christopher Johnson / Grey Bradnam
Tania van de Merwe
William Allen Young
English, Nyanja, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotha +subtitles
DVD and Blu-ray
4 Sep 2009
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