User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1260 Ratings

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  1. Mar 10, 2015
    9
    Neill Blomkamp has been recently regarded as a “fluke” by fans and critics, largely due to the commercial and critical disappointments of his fellow science-fiction follow-ups, 2013’s Elysium and 2015’s CHAPPiE—which, by all means, has fared well with fans more than it has critics compared to the former. But fortunately, Blomkamp’s dedication to his 2009 directorial debut District 9 showsNeill Blomkamp has been recently regarded as a “fluke” by fans and critics, largely due to the commercial and critical disappointments of his fellow science-fiction follow-ups, 2013’s Elysium and 2015’s CHAPPiE—which, by all means, has fared well with fans more than it has critics compared to the former. But fortunately, Blomkamp’s dedication to his 2009 directorial debut District 9 shows that he has an ability to create modern sci-fi classics that can balance both grit and visceral storytelling.

    Although his recent endeavors have also received criticisms due to their seemingly half-witted exploration of philosophical and political themes, District 9’s explicit exploration of themes discussing racism and xenophobia—in the form of speciesism, where the antagonistic private military company Multinational United (MNU) and the citizens of Johannesburg have a begrudging behavior against the aliens that inhabit its District 9—couldn’t be anymore well-told if it tried, gritting yet emotionally captivating. The special effects look fantastic for the film’s $30 million budget and Sharlto Copley’s character Wikus, who is eventually exposed to an unidentified fluid that begins his transition into one of the aliens, is portrayed with excellent quality and helps represent his character’s theme of becoming more humane the less he is human.

    It’s often that you’ll revisit films from a continuously failing director that you’ll discover major flaws that once were minor. But District 9 isn’t one of them and as far as I’m concerned, Blomkamp has the opportunity to redeem himself. The announcement that he’s directing the next Alien sequel still excites me and I’m not doubting despite some errors—I specifically enjoyed CHAPPiE, to be honest. Critics constantly look for the negatives in an artist’s work and I believe that has resulted in the demolition of the term “art”. Because artists now feel confined to the audiences watching their work rather than the work itself, it’s become despicable. It has put an end to many, many once respected directorial careers, sometimes over films that took time to receive acclaim. Hopefully, Blomkamp’s career won’t end in that direction and we’ll get a regeneration of what exactly made him one of sci-fi’s most relevant visionaries.
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  2. Mar 8, 2015
    10
    Hands down the best film I've ever seen! District 9 delivers a knockout! With the creation of a space ship hovering over Africa and a documentary shot sequence, D9 works its way to the top of a new generation of documentaries.
  3. Feb 7, 2015
    10
    Best movie I've ever seen! Although it started off a bit slow, the last hour was non stop action. So thrilling and action packed I had to create an account on metacritic and give this a 10/10!
  4. Feb 1, 2015
    9
    District 9 is an incredible action / SF movie. It really recalls some of the classic old films from the 80's such as Robocop or Total Recall with it's sense of gory fun. Yet somehow, I also find District 9's action sequences to be very moving. There's a sad streak that runs through the film and gives it genuine heart. Both the MNU infiltration scene and the final conflict leave me with aDistrict 9 is an incredible action / SF movie. It really recalls some of the classic old films from the 80's such as Robocop or Total Recall with it's sense of gory fun. Yet somehow, I also find District 9's action sequences to be very moving. There's a sad streak that runs through the film and gives it genuine heart. Both the MNU infiltration scene and the final conflict leave me with a frog in my throat and a tear in my eye. District 9 is an SF film with deep subtexts, great acting, memorable characters and action sequences that both thrill and impact you emotionally. What more could you possibly ask for? Expand
  5. Oct 21, 2014
    9
    Over twenty years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth. Humans waited for the hostile attack, or the giant advances in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa’s District 9 as the world’s nations argued over what to do with them.
    Now, patience over the alien
    Over twenty years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth. Humans waited for the hostile attack, or the giant advances in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa’s District 9 as the world’s nations argued over what to do with them.
    Now, patience over the alien situation has run out. The tension between the aliens and the humans comes to a head when a human field operative, Wikus van der Merwe, contracts a mysterious virus that begins changing his DNA. Wikus quickly becomes the most hunted man in the world, as well as the most valuable – he is the key to unlocking the secrets of alien technology. Ostracized and friendless, there is only one place left for him to hide: District 9.
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  6. Sep 28, 2014
    9
    I didn't expect much from this movie, because it is science-fiction and I actually don't like science-fiction that much. Fortunately, this movie just blew my mind. Amazing! It was a thrill to watch, it wass gross (in a good way) and it was touching. Without a doubt a 9/10.
  7. Sep 9, 2014
    10
    this movie never stops entertaining you with its brilliant screenplay. it shows how disgusting the humans really are, than the aliens. this is the best sci-fi movie i have seen. believe me, you wont get disappointed after you finish watching this movie. i give it a perfect 10.
  8. Aug 13, 2014
    10
    Amazing effects,great story,great actors and great characters.The movie have everything you want:action,Sci-Fi and some horror.I don't know what to say the movie is just amazing.
  9. May 15, 2014
    9
    District 9 is one of those rare sci-fi movies that gets everything right. It manages to be a small movie while still being really good. Considering this, don't be quick to label this as some little weird hipster movie because it's not. It's reasonably sized and that balance is what makes it so awesome. Less is truly more in this case, but trust me there is a lot of solid action in it too.District 9 is one of those rare sci-fi movies that gets everything right. It manages to be a small movie while still being really good. Considering this, don't be quick to label this as some little weird hipster movie because it's not. It's reasonably sized and that balance is what makes it so awesome. Less is truly more in this case, but trust me there is a lot of solid action in it too. But it's meaningful because it progresses the plot. It's a shame that it was overshadowed by Avatar because it outperforms that movie in every way: the characters are grounded and believable, the setting is dystopian, (kind of in the vain of Bladerunner, which is my favorite movie) and in contrast to the largely present cartoonish CGI these days, the special effects are shockingly convincing. All these components work really well to portray a gripping story that incorporates realistic themes, while still not coming off pretentious and self important (*ahem* Avatar!) In short, the movie balances simplicity and complexity very well. Overall I left the theater feeling really satisfied. I really hope there's a sequel. Expand
  10. May 7, 2014
    9
    Paths were ripped away before they were well-developed, and overall the movie should have been mediocre. Still, for whatever reason, I left the theater unusually satisfied.
  11. Mar 8, 2014
    9
    It's classic, thrilling, it's just amazing. From the acting and storytelling to the visuals and effects, it's a tremendous accomplishment. This intense sci-fi is a must-see.
  12. Feb 14, 2014
    9
    An excellent, modern sci fi interpretation of apartheid. Kept me captivated and enthralled all the way through. First you begin disliking the prauns, but as the plot progresses, I began to sympathize with them. The cinematography is phenomenal, a work of art in its own. The only thing that bugs me, and keeps me from giving district 9 a 10 is the ending. It's too ambiguous for my liking.
  13. Feb 7, 2014
    9
    This film far exceeded my expectations. Seamless transition through genres, beautifully developing characters, extremely exciting and bizarely moving. Only one character that i feel could have done with a little more development or back story, but its only a tiny issue in an otherwise fantastic film. I think district 9 is original and clever and an altogether excellent film.
  14. Jan 10, 2014
    9
    Really good movie, with a slow beggining, but an incredible conclusion. Worth watching. I hope they make a sequence for it. Just didn't like some incoerent acts by the protagonist part.
  15. Oct 25, 2013
    9
    An allegorical satire of Apartheid, represented by a sci-fi action film. Also comes into the film is its gritty violence, profane dialogue, and dystopian view of Johannesburg. The photography and CGI are stunning and astonishing. Sharlto Copley is under-exaggerated from his spellbinding performance. 'District 9' is a well crafted and wriiten political message of the horrid effects ofAn allegorical satire of Apartheid, represented by a sci-fi action film. Also comes into the film is its gritty violence, profane dialogue, and dystopian view of Johannesburg. The photography and CGI are stunning and astonishing. Sharlto Copley is under-exaggerated from his spellbinding performance. 'District 9' is a well crafted and wriiten political message of the horrid effects of segregation. Neill Blomkamp is a new breed of sci-fi filmmaker. Expand
  16. Oct 13, 2013
    9
    At first I tought that it will be another action film from the bunch, but after I saw it I really appreciated that that was not the case, until the -almost- very end; I felt that became that part of the bunch that I didn't wanted it to become, but quickly moved away from it to focus on the plot. The political feel was amazing. It is something more than just a Sunday blockbuster.
  17. Oct 6, 2013
    9
    A story that could have made an awful or a great film turned out to be the latter. Style of prose and filming really suited what the film was aspiring to be, and an all-time favourite for me.
  18. Sep 8, 2013
    9
    I love District 9! The way it's presented is original and fresh and provides a great new change to your typical sci-fi action film. The story is gripping and provides a great concept and is surprisingly believable and allows you to immerse yourself in the film. The acting is great and convincing, despite the unrealistic premise. The film is difficult to fault, however, I could say that itI love District 9! The way it's presented is original and fresh and provides a great new change to your typical sci-fi action film. The story is gripping and provides a great concept and is surprisingly believable and allows you to immerse yourself in the film. The acting is great and convincing, despite the unrealistic premise. The film is difficult to fault, however, I could say that it is inconsistent and switches to a very different action based film about halfway through which makes you forget about all the other interesting ideas and themes being presented previously in the film. Overall it's a must watch film! Expand
  19. Aug 28, 2013
    10
    If you watch cinema today you know originality has been down the and there's been an almost severe lack of great science fiction (say "2001" or "Blade Runner"). However of all the films to come out in 2009 I feel "District 9" surpasses the likes of "Avatar" or "Transformers 2" proving that even on a incredibly lower budget that CGI is maturing rapidly beyond "expenses" and "limitations".If you watch cinema today you know originality has been down the and there's been an almost severe lack of great science fiction (say "2001" or "Blade Runner"). However of all the films to come out in 2009 I feel "District 9" surpasses the likes of "Avatar" or "Transformers 2" proving that even on a incredibly lower budget that CGI is maturing rapidly beyond "expenses" and "limitations".

    The answer to a failed "Halo" movie, a lot of people have already condemned this movie for having no originality due to the fact that there are so many prior movies sharing similarities (e.g "The Fugitive", "The Fly", "Alien Nation", "Independence Day" e.t.c)

    Even though this movie contains many elements of those certain films (few I think fall flat), this still stands strong as something completely different from what we've seen for a long time and manages to include a lot of heavy themes such as Racism, Poverty and Corruption. As for the actual film WOW! America doesn't get invaded this time (I'm British by the way), No actually it lands in Africa (where the director and most of his cast originated).

    Aliens land not with gifts of wisdom or shiny utopia's but sickness and famine, Sent away to live in the slums outside the city of Johannesburg, "District 9" becomes a breeding ground for gangs, shantytowns and clearly the beginning of something much worse, among them a simple employee from the governments anti-Alien company "MNU" will soon become the answer to either to company prayers or the Aliens salvation.

    Sharlto Copley did a superb job as our main character, for a first time role I'm very pleased he's career has got to such a good start, Supporting cast do terrific jobs building a real sense of dirt, tension and prejudice that really brings out the realism of this movie, Again clearly it's Sci-Fi but why do I feel I could switch on the news now and see a country pull itself apart as depicted in this movie?

    Neil Blomkamp & Peter Jackson have made something truly special, I feel Blomkamp is trying to show a little bit more than what regulations would usually let us see but including Aliens in the mix as a substitute could very much threaten any underlying message they were going for, Either way "District 9" was solid entertainment and to me began a tradition that we will have at least one exceptionally great Sci-Fi movie each year since. 10/10
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  20. Jun 18, 2013
    9
    District 9 is one of those few movies that sticks with you. It is baffling how great this movie, with such a simple premise. I'll get it out of the way quickly that the acting and cinematography are spot on, but what makes the movie great is that it surprisingly pulls you in emotionally, with very good, and at times very original action scenes and moments. The story keeps you guessing andDistrict 9 is one of those few movies that sticks with you. It is baffling how great this movie, with such a simple premise. I'll get it out of the way quickly that the acting and cinematography are spot on, but what makes the movie great is that it surprisingly pulls you in emotionally, with very good, and at times very original action scenes and moments. The story keeps you guessing and gets more and more intense as it goes along, and there's really no reason not to recommend this movie. Expand
  21. May 11, 2013
    9
    District 9 is one of the best sci-fi movies of the past decade and the list doesn't stop there. It's an incredible debut for both its director and its lead actor. It was modestly budgeted but still managed to have some of the best visual effects around. And it's all held together by a lean, politically charged, and well realized script. It even gets you to feel sad for the aliens. ItDistrict 9 is one of the best sci-fi movies of the past decade and the list doesn't stop there. It's an incredible debut for both its director and its lead actor. It was modestly budgeted but still managed to have some of the best visual effects around. And it's all held together by a lean, politically charged, and well realized script. It even gets you to feel sad for the aliens. It could have used less F bombs, but it's still a great movie, and it deserved all of its Oscar nominations. It also deserves a decent sequel. Expand
  22. Mar 9, 2013
    10
    Though Avatar overloaded on visuals, District 9 stomps all over Avatar making it the best sci-fi film ever{Besides Avatar was pretty bad anyway}. Its possible the best film of all time as well.
  23. Feb 24, 2013
    9
    This film really surprised me, brilliant in so many way. The thing that caught my attention right away was the documentary sections. I did not think it could be so appealing, but the mockumentary strategy really sets this film apart from every other lame alien movie. It makes the entire story feel so real. Brilliant filmmaking! For a relatively low budget, indie film, I was surprised byThis film really surprised me, brilliant in so many way. The thing that caught my attention right away was the documentary sections. I did not think it could be so appealing, but the mockumentary strategy really sets this film apart from every other lame alien movie. It makes the entire story feel so real. Brilliant filmmaking! For a relatively low budget, indie film, I was surprised by how great the special effects were. The action scenes were awesome, as were the aliens. I also really liked the gory parts of the film, it works. I was also very surprised by the acting, particularly by first time actor, Sharlto Copley. He gives a very strong and emotional performance that really carried the film and added a great level of emotion and intensity to the film. This is an absolutely fantastic movie. Right alongside Avatar as one of the best films of 2009! Expand
  24. Jan 27, 2013
    10
    What happens when Peter Jackson joins Neil Blomkamp in a sci-fi movie?. An original story, stuning visual effects, and a impresive acting by Sharlto Copley, makes and amazing movie
  25. Dec 22, 2012
    9
    District 9 can be broken down into two halves, the situation and characters are introduced through a combination of documentary style interviews, both present and retrospective, and news reports. This approach serves first time director Neill Blomklamp well, as not only is it intriguing and different, but its a fairly cheap method (the films budget was only $30 million and it took in overDistrict 9 can be broken down into two halves, the situation and characters are introduced through a combination of documentary style interviews, both present and retrospective, and news reports. This approach serves first time director Neill Blomklamp well, as not only is it intriguing and different, but its a fairly cheap method (the films budget was only $30 million and it took in over seven times this at the box office). Following the introductory first half, the action switches to following Wikus as his troubles begin to increase. 
    The social commentary (calling it an undertone would be to pretend it is discreet) of the film is evident and could be transferred to any group of 'outsider's in any population. The issue has been covered by many reviewers far better than I could attempt to do so I'll just leave it at that.
    
    Blomkamp deserves credit for his unique take on the alien's arrival to Earth. So often potrayed as violent, destructive and more importantly, the dominant species, Blomkamp's aliens are food deprived, malnourished and although restless, they are successfully policed by the humans and treated as a species (or race, there goes that social commentary aspect again) with basic human rights. Consider Ridley Scott and James Cameron's Aliens being politely asked to sign a deportation order for relocation to another camp.
    
    The main protagonist Wikus is played by little known South African actor Sharlto Copley. Copley's performance and transformation of Wikus from a vain and smug executive to hunted, desperate and sacrificing fugitive are tremendous and he deserves the recognition for his role as actor and also producer of the short film Alive in Joburg upon which District 9 is based. I found the final act of the film, culimanting in the final scene, genuiely emotional, which considering that the previous twenty minutes had become a bit of a gunfest is credit again to Blomkamp.
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  26. Dec 21, 2012
    9
    Although the confusion of humans understanding an alien language and vice versa is never addressed, this film emotionally involves the viewer to a degree most films cannot reach and keeps them focused and involved throughout its whole, original entirety.
  27. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    Neill Blomkamp makes his directorial debut with "District 9", a movie that caught me by surprise. The movie initially caught my eye when it was featured as one of the ten movies nominated for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards, and I've had high expectations ever since. However, after watching "District 9" I can safely say that those expecations have been undoubtedly destroyed. NeillNeill Blomkamp makes his directorial debut with "District 9", a movie that caught me by surprise. The movie initially caught my eye when it was featured as one of the ten movies nominated for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards, and I've had high expectations ever since. However, after watching "District 9" I can safely say that those expecations have been undoubtedly destroyed. Neill Blomkamp creates the most intelligently crafted science-fiction films I've seen since "Inception". He utilizes an incredibly innovative documentary-style cinematography to create a tangible sense of realism. Another remarkable aspect of this movie is the fact that this film was created on an incredibly modest budget, and it raked in about seven times the amount of the funds at the box office. Pretty good stuff. The movie also features an unbelievably affecting performance from then first-time actor Sharlto Copley. He really does a fantastic job at illustrating all of the trials that his character, Wikus Van Der Merwe, has to endure. I was entertained throughout the entire duration of "District 9" and I would gladly watch it many more times. Expand
  28. Nov 25, 2012
    10
    District 9 is a sci-fi film of 2011 directed by Neill Blomkamp. In the 80s an alien ship stops over Johannesburg. The ship remains stationary and after three months the state of South Africa decides to send soldiers to explore the ship and find a group of aliens in poor conditions, because of their appearance, are nicknamed "prawns" (derogatory term with which they are called). Brought toDistrict 9 is a sci-fi film of 2011 directed by Neill Blomkamp. In the 80s an alien ship stops over Johannesburg. The ship remains stationary and after three months the state of South Africa decides to send soldiers to explore the ship and find a group of aliens in poor conditions, because of their appearance, are nicknamed "prawns" (derogatory term with which they are called). Brought to earth the relationship between them and humans is very tense and difficult and therefore are confined in District 9 and controlled by MNU, a multinational company that says they want to help the relationship between humans and aliens but really want to discover the secrets of arms the "prawns". After 20 years since their arrival, the villagers are fed up and demand that the aliens are moved. It is the task of Wikus van Merwe to move the aliens. The film is really a very original: the aliens that are in all respects immigrants who are misunderstood and despised by humans. A film about various topics such as racism and integration. The whole story is told in the first part as a mockumentary and the second as a normal film starring a man (Wikus) and insecure coward who understand the hard way how they live aliens. Excellent special effects (especially the way in which they were made aliens). Expand
  29. Sep 24, 2012
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. District 9 is a sci-fi action movie about a huge alien spaceship which crashes onto Earth. Humans go inside the ship and find loads of aliens which look like a cross between a human and a prawn. All the aliens inside the ship were later enslaved and forced to leave the spaceship and live in a shanty town where they are being watched and guarded heavily by the military. Then there is a man who has taken a great interest into the aliens, he has researched the origin of the aliens and has learned their language. He goes around the shanty town asking aliens to sign a form. later on he finds a strange alien device from one of the alien Expand
  30. Aug 25, 2012
    9
    Wow. This film is on another planet to most sci-fi films. A true classic that will surely develop a cult following in years to come. The emotional arc within the plot is truly outstanding and I really did not see the ending coming. Sharlto Copley was fantastic and though I found his accent hard to understand at times I did not mind as it is obviously a different accent to that of which weWow. This film is on another planet to most sci-fi films. A true classic that will surely develop a cult following in years to come. The emotional arc within the plot is truly outstanding and I really did not see the ending coming. Sharlto Copley was fantastic and though I found his accent hard to understand at times I did not mind as it is obviously a different accent to that of which we are mostly used to (unless you have some connection to South Africa). The underlying message was crystal clear for everyone to see and unless you are oblivious to all that went on in South Africa/Rhodesia you would be hard-pushed to find a more emotional sci-fi thriller. I had never heard of Neill Blomkamp before this but this would have been my choice for Best Picture, Best Director and maybe even Best Actor. Expand
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    100
    Every now and then, a film comes along that both defies and compels description. District 9 is one such movie: a science-fiction action vehicle so brilliantly and fully imagined that real life, when it resumes after the credits, arrives with a new sense of dread.
  2. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    90
    Grabs you by the eyeballs from the very first frame.
  3. Reviewed by: Daniel Engber
    50
    As an allegory of racial conflict and mass immigration, District 9 never really goes anywhere: The appealing premise fades into the background before 20 minutes have elapsed.