Review by Christopher Coleman
CLINTON SHORTER's score is a peculiar thing. Some are underwhelmed with this score as stand-alone experience, while those who've seen the movie say that they didn't notice any score at all. Ah. The Golden Goal of the Composer achieved. The music becomes an indistinguishable part of the whole. What Shorter faced was the difficult task of keeping us locked into the matter-of-factness of the film, while also giving the audience room to experience and enjoy the telling. His score must journey back to the Johannesburg, South Africa of the 1980s, and bring us face to face with racism and the fears that fuel it. Certainly, this is fertile ground for documentary film-making. Now, apartheid has been well chronicled in film over the last 30 years, but the racism we see in DISTRICT 9 is not a black/white issue, but a human/non-human one. Conscious of it or not, audiences are affected by the film's score, but what happens when the film, itself, defies convention? This late Summer entry does just that and what CLINTON SHORTER has to accomplish is no small feat.