MOVIE REVIEW: Attack the Block

Greetings all Montoya here

Attack the Block
Director/Writer Joe Cornish
Stars Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega
88 mins

About a month ago I saw the trailer for this movie, with Silver Fox for a special project we are working on, and we were completely divided by response. I thought it was either going to fail or it was going to be great, Silver Fox said he was going to give it a miss. This is the first big hurdle this movie needs to overcome, the perception of what this film is. See the trailer below

What is it all about?

A group of youths in South London stumble upon an alien invasion in and around their block. The aliens pick the wrong place to invade with the gang in hot pursuit.

At the screening we were gifted with a quick introduction by first time Director Joe Cornish. A Film School colleague of both Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) and Gareth Edwards (Monsters) Cornish has followed in their path and with the same success on his first attempt.

“The film is inspired by three things” explained Cornish. His love of old school monster movies like Gremlins and Critters, the gang movies like The Outsiders and The Warriors and lastly his love of South London. From various other articles he has also explained that he was inspired by a mugging and it carried on from there.

All the main leads, apart from an on form Nick Frost, are all newcomers which is amazing considering the performances going on here. The gang is made of five youths of which four are black. It is here that you get worried that it will fall into the stereotype of black youth culture that seems to be affiliated all too easily too many things these days without looking below the surface. This film does start off like that and it is the journey the group go through from being muggers to local heroes. Even the victim of the mugging joins in the action with the gang but never forgiving them for what they did to her. Sometimes you have to concentrate to follow what is being said and in fact there is a rumour that the film will have subtitles in the US because people will not understand it. I disagree, you just need to immerse yourself in what is being said is real, and it is. The script feels like it was just left to the actors and Cornish has stated that he gave them a lot of room to change the script and it works really well.

The lead John Boyega who plays Moses gives a truly impressive performance and you can easily see him going onto great things. The characters are all given some small screen time to develop a bit but ultimately it is the journey that is important here.

The biggest surprise here for me was just how funny this movie is. I was laughing for quite a lot of the time for the right reasons. In fact I laughed more in this film at the one liners than all the Will Farrell films put together. One thing you notice in films is how much we rely on mobile phones now. It is evident in Attack the Block that we live in a mobile world and how we use this has changed how we make movies. They are used to good effect here. The film is filled with pop culture references to video games and ebay and are all used to great comedic effect. Now do not think this film is a spoof, it is NOT. It also has great action and some wicked monster effects.

The creatures themselves are there but never really seen due to some brilliant effects in their designs. The luminous eyes and teeth work brilliantly in the dark setting of the movie. Also the music is one of the best I have heard in a long while. It goes from dark moody scores to techo beats.

The other clever element here is the setting against fireworks night and the gangs use of fireworks as weapons. Yes there is knifes, clubs and guns in this movie but hey when was the last time we saw an alien invasion film use bangers as weapon.

This is a great alien invasion film that achieves the impossible by making our gang of muggers a group of unlikely heroes. This is already becoming a cult classic and I hope everyone enjoys this film as much as the audience I was with who all cheered and clapped at the end. Now that is what I am talking about.

Also if you are interested there is a special screening of the film on the 6th May at the trendy Ritzy Picture House in Brixton, near where the movie is set. There’ll be an intimate Q&A session with the film’s writer and first-time director, Joe Cornish (of Adam and Joe, BBC 6 Music fame), as well as an exclusive Attack the Block exhibition of on-set and behind-the-scenes photography. And because no movie experience is complete without it, they will be treating you to complimentary popcorn and drinks too. Go here to find out more courtesy of Take Two.

Attack the Block is the alien invasion film with attitude and lasting just under 90 mins it is just the right length. I know that there will be people who will moan about how this film represent not just young black youth culture or even young culture full stop, but I for one would want these guys to be on my side when this invasion starts.

GS Rating 4.5/5

GS Reporter: Montoya

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