Attack the Block (2011)

Written, produced and directed by Joe Cornish who is better known as part of the TV comedic duo `Adam and Joe’.

I’ve long held the view that British films could be more than what they are. As a sci-fi and fantasy fan, the UK always seemed to be lagging behind when it comes to the genre. The first time I felt this was beginning to change was when I watched Shaun of the Dead. Given that Joe Cornish was the producer, it’s no coincidence then that we see Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul) also acting in Attack the Block, portrayed as a drug-dealer.

This film is full of action, full of humour and full of… well aliens. The backdrop of the story is set entirely in the fictional block of Wyndham Tower Estate in South London

The heroes are a group of young criminals who we first meet when they `mirk’ or rob a young woman who is new to the neighbourhood. Once they’ve committed the crime the alien shows up, they pursue it and kill it. Chaos ensues and by the time the police actually catch up to them (with the victim of the crime in the police van in order to identify them) they are being pursued by a larger, nastier version of the original creature that they’ve caught.

One of the best things about this film is its believability. I don’t mean that I believe I’m going to see these things roaming the streets rather that the heroes react like I would expect people to react. They use the only weapons that are available to them and the only places they would be safe.

There’s lots of comedy in this film but it’s full of action and the main character, Moses, is an interesting one who, while appearing the villain in the first scenes is loyal to his friends and neighbourhood and takes responsibility for his actions.

This isn’t a film that spends a lot of time preaching morals to you but rather it opens the audience up to the everyday perils of the neighbourhood as well as focussing on the main plot.

It’s subtle, compelling, fast-paced and you’re rooting for the heroes right to the end. In short, it’s everything I always thought British sci-fi could be, the gritty London background working well with imaginative plot.

The best thing about it is that we don’t get the usual bit of an alien invasion film where the authorities come in at the last minute and take over or where we see the invasion happening on a large scale. The action in this film is all localized and is just one of the things that makes this film unique.

All and all, it’s a brilliant film and well worth watching more than once.

2 thoughts on “Attack the Block (2011)

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