Satires are a staple of the film industry, providing powerful social commentary when done well. The best satire movies use this technique subtly and don’t hit you over the head with it, but still find ways to make their point. Satires take a familiar story or genre and make fun of it through imitation, often providing a comedic spin on serious issues. These films are capable of providing social or political critique, while at the same time entertaining audiences through often hilarious means. Let’s take a look at the 20 Greatest Satire Films of All Time.
20. District 9 (2009)
Many satire films are comedies, as the genre naturally lends itself to poking fun at something in the real world. District 9, however, is not one of those films. Instead, it’s a rather brutal on-the-nose message about apartheid in South Africa (even using the city of Johannesburg as the setting). Rather than separating living things based on skin color, writer and director Neil Blomkamp uses a race of aliens to serve as the lower class citizens in this 2009 movie.
The aliens, which are even given their own racial slur (“prawns”) in the film, are seen as dirty, weak, and a drain on society. The main human character, Wikus van der Merve (Sharlto Copley), endures an accident that sees him transform from a respected government authority into one of the aliens. It’s a slow process, and the film explores exactly how different he is treated once people start to believe he is “one of them.”
The film, although obviously fictional, is made to look like a documentary. If you substituted a minority race in for the aliens, it would be less of a sci-fi movie and more of a chilling tale of how terrible human beings can treat each other.