Ted Humphrey on ‘District 9’

by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

Right from the start, “District 9” grabs you by the throat and never lets go. Director Neill Blomkamp, who co-wrote the script with Terri Tatchell, eschews any introductory ramp-up and just slaps us down in the middle of hell, leaving it to us to figure out the deal. No meet-cute. No establishing that our hero is a wonderful family man and champion hang glider. Instead, we get Wikus Van De Merwe — an ineffectual corporate drone in whom we all recognize some part of ourselves. Which is what makes the movie tick. The carefully constructed screenplay delivers what too many studio special-effects epics lack: We care. About the characters, even though they all have foreign names and thick accents. About the stunning action scenes — not because of how many explosions there were and how much it all cost, but because what happens next actually matters.

Ted Humphrey is co-executive producer and writer of CBS drama series “The Good Wife.”

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