This is part of a week-long series on violence and provocative themes in hit movies.)
Is there too much violence in movies this summer?
What do you think? Please, read the daily articles this week—whether you’ve seen “District 9” and “Inglourious Basterds” or not—and share your thoughts.
My own literary vice is science fiction, so we went to see “District 9” first. Without spoiling the film, here’s a quick plot summary:
An alien species is stranded in Johannesburg, South Africa, their immense space ship hovering immobile over the city. The aliens are helpless, leaderless, and needy. They’ve lived for almost 30 years in a squalid government refugee camp, growing to over a million in number.
Public resentment and interspecies clashes escalate. A private company, Multi-National United (MNU), is hired to forcibly evict the aliens—called by the derogatory name “Prawns” due to their appearance—to a camp outside the city. The bureaucrat in charge of the operation is exposed to an alien fluid that slowly transforms his DNA. Eventually, he becomes an ally of the aliens and enemy of MNU and the state.
That’s the bloodless plot. The film is rated R for “Bloody violence and pervasive language.” And bloody it is, enhanced by the mock documentary style in which it is filmed. (See the trailer here.)
I knew in advance the inspiration for the film, and that made its impact more powerful. Invert 9 and you get 6, District 6: “a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, South Africa. It is best known for the forced removal of over 60,000 of its inhabitants during the 1970s by the apartheid regime.” (Follow the link for details.)
All but one shack in the film were real shacks in Soweto.
We left the theater, worn out physically and emotionally, wondering whether the violence was necessary.
A day later, I concluded that it was—violence was a necessary way to tell the story. Violence (of many kinds) was integral to the original story.
Violence is gratuitous in many movies, but not here.
Have you seen the movie?
What to you think of it? Do you agree or disagree with me?
If you haven’t seen the movie, do you think you will? What have you heard about the film that sways you either way?
PLEASE, Add a Comment—whether you’ve seen “District 9” or not.