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Attack The Block

August 21, 2011

So what do you do when aliens attack your city? According to 2009’s Cloverfield, you grab a camera to document entire thing and wait for the Marines to solve the problem. If you live in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania like the characters in 1958’s The Blob, you use a bunch of fire extinguishers to freeze your opponent and get him out of your city. But if you live in the ghettos of South London and aliens attack your block, you do what you’ve been trained to do; grab some fireworks, baseball bats, collector’s edition swords and switchblades and you make them wish they never came to Earth—at least that’s how a group of kids did it in Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block.

It’s Bonfire Night and Moses (John Boyega) and his gang of friends are searching for mischief. They soon find it in Sam (Jodie Whittaker), a mousy nurse walking the streets by herself at night on the phone. The boys mug her but are interrupted by a crash of something that lands in a car next to them. Moses decides to check the car for valuables but is attacked by a vicious being. Refusing to go down without a fight, Moses, with the help of his friends Pest, Jerome, Dennis, and Biggz, kills the being and proudly parades it around for their peers on the block to see. The boys debate selling the alien for profit soon seeking advice from their drug dealer Ron (Nick Frost). Just as the boys settle down to celebrate their new kill and future endeavors with a joint, they notice a hail of lights falling from the sky and quickly realize that an alien attack is underway. Determined to prove that the block is theirs only, the boys gear up with whatever they can collect, make promises to their parents to return before curfew and head out to kill some aliens.

From the first ten minutes of Attack the Block, action happens and continues to snowball creating an edge of the seat intense thriller. The film runs for less than an hour and a half yet nothing feels rushed and unexplained. Not an answer for everything is given and it doesn’t end with all the t’s crossed and all the i’s dotted but its legible and a greatly entertaining read. The CGI is cleverly restricted to creating the pitch black, terrifying aliens whose only color comes from the enticing and luminous green of their rows of sharp teeth. Good old-fashioned make-up effects and real stunt work are heavily used in Attack the Block making deaths more intimate and realistic.

While nearly all the technical aspects of Attack the Block are impressive, including its sound editing, the most notable feature is its character development. Despite following a group of degenerate lowlifes whose hobbies included robbing defenseless women on the streets and smoking pot while planning future attacks, viewers can’t help but form allegiance and empathy with the boys. Writer and director Joe Cornish does an impressive job of subtly giving the boys heart through scenes of them just hanging out and talking. They come off as smart kids with hobbies, desires, jobs, curfews and responsibilities. The boys even have a philosophy for their crimes; they don’t hurt the people they rob, they only use a knife as a scare tactic. Plus they keep their mischief only to those not from the block. It’s not a nice sentiment but what else are boys from the hood supposed to do? The gang simply are what they are, products of their environment which is showcased in its infancy through Probs and Mayhem, two 9-year-olds boys who humorously follow the gang around desperate to prove they are tough and belong in their crew.

Each character in the film is given distinct personalities, hilarious lines, and heart-warming moments that evoke empathy from the audience even causing me to shed of a tear at some of their fate. Attack the Block perfectly walks the line of horror-action and comedy. There’s enough jumps and surprises to keep your heart racing but plenty of hilarious lines, moments and turns. Irony and circumstance is explicated exceptionally well throughout and each character holds their weight as a vital member of the gang and cast. However it’s most crippling aspect is its need to have a villain in the hilariously over-the-top drug lord Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter). His character is one-dimensional, delusional and does nothing for the film but delivers a few funny chuckles and to give a D.A.R.E warning to viewers that the drug business is bad mkay? Despite its minor hiccups and flaws, Attack the Block is the summer film that has been needed in this dismal unimpressive climate and makes me feel ready for the impending alien invasion that I’m sure will come.

SEE IT. And prepare for the alien invasion of 2012, if they aren’t good guys.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Get More Info About Commercial Window Film permalink
    February 19, 2012 5:08 AM

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I in finding this topic to be actually one thing that I feel I would never understand. It kind of feels too complicated and extremely large for me. I’m having a look forward on your next put up, I will try to get the grasp of it!


  1. THe Darkest Hour… More Like the Drabbest Hour. AMIRITE?? « The Cinephiliac

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