By Bob Gibbons
Neill Blomkamp has a dark and desperate vision of the future. His films show society living beyond their resources, at the very outer edge of humanity, divided into haves and have-nots, cruel to one another, scavenging, struggling, killing each other to survive. District 9, his premiere film, demonstrated his talent, despite working with a cast of unknowns. This movie has some of the same themes as that one; it continues to show Blomkamp’s impressive capability, despite the fact that it feels derivative of so many other movies. There is a bit of Frankenstein in here and Iron Man, and several others (Children of Men, for example) but fundamentally, it seems grounded in historical lessons (Nazi-ism), newspaper headlines and human interest television stories that tell of children from impoverished countries being airlifted to the US for life-saving medical treatment. It’s all very dark and violent, but with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. I’m not a huge fan of science fiction movies and so, with these films I generally run out of interest before they run out of plot. This one is a bit predictable, but it’s also worth watching because Blomkamp explores so many ideas, many of them dark and depressing, but he ends up in a place that is, at least, hopeful.