28 May 2011

Attack the Block Review

When I first heard about this film, I wasn't expecting much, that was until I saw the trailer and found that Nick Frost was staring in it and it was being produced by Nira Park and Edgar Wright, the duo behind Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Those people being involved peaked my curiosity. My thoughts on the film, incredible. You need to see Attack the Block as soon as possible, there are no other films like it that will be released for the rest of the year.
Attack the Block starts by showing the demonized version of south London teenagers painted by the Daily Mail after they mug a nurse (Jodie Whitaker) and a meteor crashes into a car right next to them, the nurse runs off and the teens take a look at the car. A genius move writer/director Joe Cornish does here is that he stays with the teens investigating the car instead of the traumatized nurse, who we later find out is called Sam, with minor shots to show her reaction.
The main draw of Attack the Block are the characters of Biggz, Jerome, Pest, Dennis and the leader Moses. They all have a very natural chemistry together and the focus on them after the meteor hits provides the audience with a chance to know the characters and actually sympathize with them later on in the film. In the meteor is an alien that attacks Moses then runs off, Moses eventually finds and kills it in a shed and they take it to the blocks drug dealers Ron and Hi-Hatz played by Nick Frost and Jumayn Hunter respectively. Frost steals the screen every time he is on as Ron through his energy, charm and witty dialogue and Hunter makes for a really effective character in the film, the true intentions of which would be a plot spoiler. More aliens arrive and all out war between the chavs and the aliens breaks out.
A real strength of Attack the Block would be the design of the aliens themselves, they are all black except for fluorescent green teeth. The simplicity of the design is great and you never know when the aliens are going to show up next until you see the teeth. The stunt work for the aliens is great with all of them being provided by Terry Notary running on all fours. The aliens also provide a really strong amount of gore with this film having some of the most brutal death scenes in any film recently and to describe what they do would be a spoiler, watch the movie and see the gore for yourself.
The aliens are effective in providing the horror element but the comedy element comes through as well. Two 9 year old characters Probs and Mayhem steal the screen whenever they are on due to the comedy of how absurd their actions are in the film, a drug user Brewis is good in providing snobbish, stoned humor with his dialogue with Ron being a high point in the film. I can't reveal anything more about Sam in the film as anything I say about her character will be plot spoilers.
Still though the best part of the film is that the chavs in the film are really good characters and are, surprisingly really likable. The research of south London youth culture that Cornish put into the film really shines through with the way that these characters play off of each other and by the end of the film you will be quoting these character for a long time after you see this film. Cornish is also a brilliant director providing these characters with enough room to let them develop as characters and to show themselves as great action heroes with a slow motion sequence at the end really highlighting the talents Cornish has as a director and his usage of shadows makes the film terrifying as you never know when the aliens will show up.
There are a few drawbacks, all of them stemming from the budget of the film. There are two key sequences that do not show much simply because of the budget, the sequence in the shed where Moses kills the first alien, you only see the exterior of the shed and I really wanted to see how Moses killed the creature and a sequence in a corridor covered in smoke which, even though it is a really suspenseful sequence cannot show much due to the budget of the film.
Overall though, Attack the Block is an incredible film. A film that you need to see, not just to support the UK film industry but also as there is no film like it. I cannot recommend you see this film enough, it is a true cinematic experience and a film that is filled with good amounts of horror and comedy (horror being the strong point). It is incredible, you will never see any other film like this in the near future. Trust bruv.
My Rating: 4.5/5

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