An alien ship arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa and a race of locust-like extraterrestrials have been forced to live as second-class citizens. They live in squalor and poverty, as they are forced to move from their homes and live separately from the humans that treat them like shit and abuse them constantly. All of this, while the aliens are trying to find a way to go home. The plot starts in when one of the humans, who had previously worked against the aliens, is now infected with a liquid that is slowly turning him into a man/alien hybrid, and everybody is out looking for him.
One of the most powerful science fiction movies to come out since the original Blade Runner, much of it’s power comes from Neil Blomkamp’s choice of using a cinema verite style and making it look as much like a documentary as possible. Probably the first thing that has to be said is the wise choice of casting the film in South Africa, where there are many illusions to the Apartheid and what is going on with the aliens here. The two main aliens, father and son, trying to find their way home, is very touching. You actually pity the poor aliens and their choice of trying to rebel against the creatures, while you also can understand why the aliens want to trade arms and form gangs for self-defense and feeding reasons. It has to be said that the Aliens look very realistic, even with the CG that is used on them. For many sequences I stopped looking at animation itself and felt I was really watching an alien soap opera. They are also pretty damn good actors. The movie is also very grotesque, in ways I wasn’t expecting: there is a lot of gross and gore elements, especially with the particular transformation of a man into ‘roach’ that add to the realism of the film.
This movie has already become a box-office hit, and has been better received than the trash of the Transformer and Terminator sequels that came out this year. This movie will rank with films like Blade Runner, John Carpenter’s The Thing and the first two Alien films as some of the best the genre has to offer, and I look forward to Mr. Blomkamp’s future films.