If I said more than that I might spoil it.
I’m not prepared to say that District 9 is the most amazing movie of the summer; I haven’t seen them all and I have had a torrid public love affair with Star Trek. What I am prepared to say is that District 9 is an incredibly well told story.
Director Neill Blomkamp is a master of the cinema verite style faux documentary. Much like Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project the shaky cam this-really-happened footage adds a visceral sense of truth to the film. But unlike the aforementioned movies which use a lack of apparent editorial influence to build credit with the audience, the documentary framing allows District 9 to present the truth while implying that there is an even bigger truth beyond that.
Because the framing documentary is “filmed” after the main narrative the interviewed subjects are able to drop hints about further events in the film. While not always obvious at the time these hints create nice “aha” moments when the connections are made, and it is these connections that make for a tightly knit story.
While there is one nagging bit of unexplained phenomena (a “liquid” that is apparently both a fuel and a toxin), ultimately there are few loose ends at the end of the movie. This isn’t to say that everything is cut and dry; there are plenty of ways to interpret what has and will happen, but that everything has happened for a reason.
This is the kind of story telling that writers, directors, and editors of all media and genres could learn something from. It’s Chekhov’s gun in action, where the details are meaningful. Just for that it’s a great film.