District 9 (Thoughts on human nature?)

I like my summer movies to be of the popcorn variety. The type that don’t require much of the audience – simply sit back, suspend disbelief, and enjoy the ride. Star Trek was that kind of film (I saw it twice!). District 9 was not.

Like some other good sci fi I have seen – Thirteenth Floor and Gattaca come to mind, others might think of Children of Men (but I could not finish that film) – District 9 uses the genre to tell a challenging story. This is not Star Wars space opera science fiction; this is a story that tells a reasonable tale about what could be.

One might consider District 9 an extended meditation on human nature. We see the base and vile of humanity, and we also see some degree of heroism. But mainly… we see a lot of the vile. Segregation, injustice, intentional slums, apartheid, murder, potentially holocaust (one could just see the film’s characters eventually moving to “a final solution”)… the film raises a variety of real-world issues to be considered.

It has been crafted to feel not only plausible, but real; as though this is happening. And perhaps that is where my biggest challenge is – that humanity just might be capable of such atrocities. That we might not learn from our history, and instead repeat it…

If the mark of a “good” film is that it gets you thinking, challenges you, tells a plausible story in a way that draws you in and makes you care in a visceral, gut twisting kind of way, then District 9 is a “good” film…

Even as a rumination on the darkness that might be within human beings’ hearts, it does leave us with a note of hope, small though it may be. Systemic evils still exist in the end, but there are a few who have done what they could to challenge them…

Thankfully, for our world, I believe there is greater hope, rooted in Christ. I think our own, inner light might be small and seemingly insignificant compared to the darkness around us. But I believe the light of Christ is stronger, is able to overcome any and all darkness, and if we can let that light burn within us, there will be hope. And light.

I place my trust in Christ and in those who seek to know, love, and follow Christ. They are the ones who will stand up to the darkness in this world, thought it might cost them. I pray to be among them, willing to take a stand for what is right. (And, as I often share, hoping to have a heart after the heart of Christ, pure and free of darkness…)

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