8 out of 10
Release Date: 13th May 2011
Director: Joe Cornish
Cast: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Jumayn Hunter, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Simon Howard with Luke Treadaway and Nick Frost
Writer: Joe Cornish
Trailer: ATTACK THE BLOCK
Director and writer Joe Cornish first and foremost gifts the sci-fi geek before anyone else with a retro-style synth score from the gods. Paying immediate tribute to Ennio Morricone‘s score from The Thing (1982) he knows to win over the serious genre fans first. Early on in this very entertaining flick you know that this is very much a modern day remix of John Carpenter’s Assault On Precinct 13 (1981). During the intervening years though the world has changed. Instead of the disenfranchised being faceless demons represented as an almost supernatural force we are very much along for the ride with the “baddies” in Attack The Block. The misunderstood youth become our heroes through a twist of fate. Is this a populist attempt to de-fang the “cult of the hoodie” ? Who knows? It could be. But I finished writing serious critiques in 2003. Let a media student draw comparisons. So on to the plot, blad!
On bonfire night, a nurse played by Jodie Whittaker (VENUS) is mugged by five youths led by Moses (John Boyega – JUNKHEARTS) who happen to live in the same high rise block of flats as her. The altercation is interrupted by a crash landing alien hurtling into a nearby parked car. The gang kill the creature and take its corpse to be looked after in the local drug lock-up kept by a guileless and severely stoned Nick Frost (SHAUN OF THE DEAD). So far so weird. Later that evening more aliens crash land in the neighbourhood, only these Aliens are bigger, stronger and more deadly. The nurse teams up with gang after the aliens lay siege to the ‘block‘. To say anymore would ruin any surprises or a reasonable amount of invention and tension.
What makes Attack The Block so enjoyable is the cool action, brilliant script and streamline plot. The cast are mostly strong, they could have done with a bit of overlapping dialogue (Robert Altman-style) to make it less stagey, but this is a very minor quibble. This is the debut for many of the young actors asked to carry the bulk of the movie and they pull it off with aplomb (whatver that means). Familiar faces like Nick Frost, Luke Treadaway (HEARTLESS) and Jumayn Hunter (EDEN LAKE) are there to play the background. The creature design is top notch and never once do you think of it as an effect. The look of the second wave of aliens will be iconic, a kind of fluffy gorilla with the sharpest electric blue teeth. Deadly and a nice riff on the scaly beast we’re usually expecting to see, check the alien in STORAGE 24 for instance.
Attack On The Block is hardly a game changer but as a sleek sci-fi actioner it ticks all the boxes. Great set up, wonderful dialogue, interesting character actors in supporting roles, an amazing setting, pace, great score, tributes to past masters whilst improving on an often abused genre. Film snobs, let down your guard. 88 Minutes of one of the UKs best commercial films of the decade.
Love Brit Pic Dick
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Jodie Whittaker: Broadchurch (TV), Hello Carter, Black Sea, Ashes, Spike Island, Good Vibrations, One Day, The Kid (2010), St. Trinians, Venus
- John Boyega: Caesar, Star Wars – The Force Awakens, 24 (TV), Half of a Yellow Sun, Junkhearts
- Alex Esmail: Northern Soul, Essex Boys Retribution, Strippers Vs Werewolves, Payback Season
- Franz Drameh: A Hundred Streets, Legacy (2015), Edge Of Tomorrow, Now Is Good
- Jumayne Hunter: Scintilla, Dom Hemingway, Borrowed Time, Quartet, I Anna, Piggy, Cherry Tree Lane, Eden Lake
- Luke Treadaway: Fortitude (TV), Unbroken, The Rise, Get Lucky, Cheerful Weather For The Wedding, You Instead, St George’s Day, Killing Bono, Heartless, Brothers Of The Head
- Nick Frost: Syrenia, Unfinished Business, Dr Who (TV), The Boxtrolls (voice), Mr Sloane (TV), Cuban Fury, The World’s End, Ice Age 4 (voice), Snow White & The Huntsman, Tintin (voice), Paul, The Boat That Rocked, Wild Child, Hyper Drive (TV), Hot Fuzz, Kinky Boots, Shaun Of The Dead, Spaced (TV)