District 9 is the debut film of South African director Neill Blomkamp, and what a remarkable debut it is. This intelligent sci-fi stunner is packed to the brim with incredible action sequences, top-quality acting, thought-provoking social commentary, and excellent cinematography. In an alternate version of the 1980's, an alien space ship carrying over a million malnourished aliens comes to a stop over the city of Johannesburg. Derogatorily referred to as Prawns, the aliens are segregated from normal human society and forced to reside in a slum known as District 9. The film follows the character of Wikus van de Merwe, a bumbling bureaucrat who is heading up the forced relocation of the Prawns to a new residence. Wikus begins to form a bond with one of the Prawns when a mysterious alien fluid begins transforming him into one of them. From the outset, District 9 presents a viewing experience unlike any other. Initially, the film is presented in a documentary style, which perfectly sets up the background of the film and establishes the main characters. Slowly the film transitions into a more traditional style as it follows Wikus, who is forced to flee from government forces who hope to make him into a medical experiment. Regardless of the film's style, every shot is perfectly placed, every frame meticulously planned out in order to achieve the perfect visual presentation. In addition to the film's gorgeous cinematography, it boasts top notch visual effects, making full use of both practical effects and CGI. Everything alien in the film is convincingly realistic, from the Prawns themselves to the space ship that hovers ominously over the city. The film also boasts a perfectly composed soundtrack, comprising of everything from a pulse pounding, drum heavy score for action sequences to a traditionally inspired track that perfectly underscores the film's gorgeous establishing shots. In addition, every member of the cast gives a convincing performance, but special credit must go to Sharlto Copley, who turns in an amazing performance as the film's leading man. The film's action sequences are also notable for their gritty realism and high tension. Like any good film, District 9 also has a good antagonist, in this case the sadistic Koobus Venter. He is cruel and merciless and gives the distinct impression of a man who cares little for any form of life, be it human or alien. The script is smartly written and the plot is very intelligent, commenting on such issues as racism, the fear of that which we don't know, and humanity's treatment of others. All of these factors come together to create a science fiction thriller that is both intelligent and action packed, and is easily the best English-language film to be released since the year 2000, not to mention earning itself a spot on both my lists of favorite sci-fi and favorite action films, an achievement matched only by one other film (The Terminator, in case you're wondering). In short, if you haven't seen District 9, go rent it and watch it right now.