I knew nothing about "District 9" other than it has no known actors or director and that it is about aliens. I never planned on seeing it until Entertainment Weekly gave it a solid "A" (and a cover story!). In actuality, the film has one of the best acting performances that I have seen all year and it is about so much more than aliens. Here are reasons why the film took me by surprise.
1. Sharlto Copley - Never heard of him? You are not alone - he has never been in a feature film before, which truly blows my mind because he was fantastic. His characters transformation in the film is spectacular. Guaranteed to be a household name soon enough (he is rumored to be cast in The A-Team. The film is an awful idea, but at least he is among respected actors - Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper) maybe Oscar will come calling?
2. By far the best action film of the summer - Forget Transformers, Terminator and G.I Joe, this film blows them away and was made for a relatively low budget (30 million). The film is non-stop visual stimulation.
3. Not really about aliens - It's more about humanity, apartheid, racism and the competition for superior weapons and technology, but the film is so engaging that it doesn't distract the audience from enjoying the simple aliens vs. humans story.
4. It is like nothing I have ever seen - I guess what is so surprising to me is that it is a film that is so different that I have nothing to compare it to. It's an intelligent, heart-breaking, exciting allegorical sci-fi adventure film that feels like a documentary. I am amazed that the director was able to accomplish so much with one film. I'm very happy that I decided to go see it.