Neill Blomkamp's "ridiculous" District 9 is fresh proof that filmmakers just can't handle racial issues, said Armond White in New York Press. The movie "idiotically combines sci-fi wonderment with the inane 'realism' of a mockumentary" to show how South Africa forces visiting extraterrestrials to live as second-class citizens. But with its relentless reliance on old racial stereotypes, District 9 "represents the sloppiest and dopiest pop cinema" imaginable. (watch the trailer for District 9)
District 9 could have been a "grungy fable" about our tendency to be ugly to those who are different, said Joshua Rothkopf in Time Out New York. "The movie's creatures, rendered with insectoid precision and derisively called 'prawns' by the white characters, are ghettoized in a Soweto-like township." But the film, though arguably a "gruesomely dark" gem, "has too many gory vaporizations to qualify as a serious statement on race relations."
District 9's "themes of racial division" seem to be a metaphor for apartheid," said Associated Press writer Christy Lemire in the San Francisco Chronicle, but "its quick bursts of violence and urban warfare also feel like a statement on the war in Iraq." Either way, this is an "intense, intelligent, well-crafted action movie" that "dazzles the eye with seamless special effects but also makes you think without preaching."