This film curiously combines so many different styles and genres in a manner that almost works. It is a fictional documentary-style sci-fi, with traces of horror, Kafkaesque characters, fugitive plot, corporate conspiracy theme, socio-political agenda, some shreds of romance, and even a final, Western-inspired, standoff/shot-them-all…
Did I miss anything else?
Yet, unlike so many of the films being made these days, this one does actually have something to say. Actually not so much to say as to attempt and create an experience of transformation – transforming the audience’s perspective of the less privileged. Not for nothing it is taking place in South Africa of all places. Sci-fi is just used as means to an end. The less privileged, in this case, is an alien race captured in fenced guarded slams apartheid-style. The aliens, resembling the insect from Kafka’s Metamorphosis, are indeed disgusting to the human eye, both in appearance and habits. It is the filmmakers task to transform this disgust into sympathy. And the vehicle is the main character -- a human caught in between these two races. Gambling it all on that main character is a risky business. And despite excellent performance on the part of Sharlto Copley, the sympathy and related transformation only partially take place.
I give this film 5 stars for what it attempts to do but only 3 stars for what it achieves, resulting in a total of 4 stars.