The credit for this should go to star Sharlto Copley, who gives a simply superb performance as a government official charged with the task of issuing eviction notices to the aliens that inhabit the slum known as District 9, soon to be dismantled, leaving the aliens homeless. After being sprayed by a mysterious fluid, he begins to undergo a frightening metamorphosis (not unlike that of Jeff Goldblum's in The Fly). In order to elude the G-men who want his body for research, he needs the help of an alien from the slum, forcing him to confront his own racist perceptions.
Copley's transformation is evidence of a unique full-bodied performance, but it also represents an exceptional achievement in body makeup and prosthetics. The CG effects are strong as well, seamlessly integrating computerized aliens with live actors.
Though it falls slightly short of its ambitions, District 9 is still a very engaging and original piece of work. The surprising box office success may lead to a few nominations from Oscar, the most likely of which would be Makeup, VFX, and both Sound categories.
***1/2 out of ****