The film District 9 was directed by Neil Blomkamp and told how humans treated aliens after they arrived in a spaceship and landed in Johannesburg, South Africa. The aliens are initially assisted, but they are eventually treated as refugees and separated.
With bigotry and xenophobia directed at the aliens, racism is a significant theme in the film. Humans don’t trust aliens, so they evict them from townships and commit hate crimes against them, such as torching alien homes and shooting them. Alien aliens are known as prawns because of their low status and appearance, and cases of inhumane treatment are common. Another central theme in District 9 is government power, with Multi-National United (MNU) representing the control over the aliens. Soldiers in full armor with huge guns are common scenes showing government authority over the prawns.
Ethnic cleansing is also another theme evident in the film with the MNU seeking to see the aliens die off to reduce spending on them and avoid having to deal with the prawns. Efforts of MNU especially Wikus is extermination of the alien species by aborting the prawn eggs and shooting those resistant of relocation. Humanity in both aliens and man is another theme evident in the lives of Christopher, Wikus and Christopher’s sons who show compassion, cares for each other, and make choices aimed at promoting kindness, consideration, and tolerance.
Wikus’ character drives the story in the film and is portrayed as a warm, loving character with a genuine smile and is the best representation of humans. He is promoted to chief overseer of District 9 eviction where he treats the aliens in an inhumane manner depicting how the most upright citizens could be affected by racism to an extent they do not interrogate their actions against the aliens (other races). An accident sees him start turning into an alien losing his family and humanity in the process and becomes an enemy of the state seeking refuge in District 9 (Baum, 3). Through Wikus, the film portrays the similarity in the aliens and humans as having humanity, and this is evident as Christopher, his son, and Wikus repeatedly make choices that endanger their lives to save each other. Wikus shows racism, government control, ethnic cleansing, and humanity as he goes through different stages in the film from a lovable character to an alien hopeful of a cure.
The film portrays the effects of racism and uses Wikus life to show that despite differences, humanity is universal.
The film means a lot by investigating deep seated issues in the society and offered me an examination of my attitude towards other people and aliens. The film also made me consider how inhumane man can be when confronted with unfounded fear of the unknown, which saw heartless treatment of aliens.
Baum, Seth D. “Film review: district 9.” Film review 20 (2009): 2.