The first time I saw this movie I absolutely loved it. I saw it a second time tonight and I loved it just as much as the first time. This is probably the most believable sci-fi I’ve ever seen. The acting is brilliant, the dialogue (largely improvised) isn’t fake in the slightest, and the visuals are outstanding.
The coolest part of it I think is the pseudo-documentary style in which about half of it is filmed. It makes everything seem so real and part of the actual world. The South African setting is brilliant, and the accents really help to take the edge off of any leftover hints that this didn’t actually happen (at least for me, maybe not for South Africans). The docu-style eases off a lot during the second half due to the plot advancement, but it’s still wonderfully filmed and the composition of the CG elements is astounding.
One thing that is both a boon and a detriment to the film is that is based quite heavily on apartheid and real events that occurred in that area. The aliens (usually referred to as Prawn) take the place of black communities that were relocated against their will in order to maintain separation. This takes away a little of the originality of the film, but it also gives it great emotional backbone and adds a lot of power to the story.
It’s quite a violent movie. I’m entirely cool with that. I suppose I’ve been a bit desensitized to this sort of thing but it didn’t seem gruesome to the point of un-watch-ability by any means, and it was all just very impressive, especially the alien weapons (e.g. pig-throwing gun).
Much like a lot of my favorite movies and shows, a lot is left to speculation; like why did the aliens come to Earth, where are they from, etc. Some of these holes might be considered plot holes, but the speculation part can pretty much cover that. Exposition ruins things.
So yeah. Probably the best new movie I’ve seen this year.