9. District 9
Kafkaesque is a phrase that gets thrown about a lot, often inappropriately, but when it comes to Neill Blomkamp's 2009 debut District 9 there couldn't be a more apt description. Drawing direct inspiration from Apartheid South Africa, this sci-fi mockumentary takes a very different approach to your typical alien invasion flick.
After an alien mothership appears over Johannesburg in the 1980s, the South African government confines the insectoid aliens into an internment camp, the titular District 9. Through the use of 'interview' footage, we're introduced to the painfully average bureaucrat Wikus (Sharlto Copley), who's tasked with enforcing a mass eviction of the aliens residing in District 9. But like the protagonist of Kafka's infamous The Metamorphosis, Wikus finds himself slowly transforming into the very species he's been oppressing.
Before making his directorial debut, Blomkamp had cut his teeth in the industry as a special effects artist and 3D animator, which allowed him to blend a handheld, cinéma vérité shooting technique with photo-realistic CG. The result is a truly unique sci-fi film that despite its high-concept, is an ultimately grounded portrayal and allegory of racism and segregation.