Attack the Block
Surprisingly well-made, with strong performances by actors and director, this film is a fresh breathe to whole alien invasion genre.
Ok, so here’s the movie I’m sure you never heard of, and yet its one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. Definitely the best sci-fi/horror movie of 2011. Its a British production, directed by first-time director Joe Cornish and has a completely unknown cast, so why would anyone need to see it then, huh?
Well, I’ll tell you why. One dark night full with fireworks in the sky, one nurse Sam is returning home – shady project style housing called “the block”, where she has moved not a while ago. But she encounters a surprise – local teenage gang, led by Moses (John Boyega) decides to rob her. Sam is frightened and cooperative, and as soon as the gang gets her phone and the purse, they are ready to take off when sudden object fells from the sky right into the parked nearby car, smashing it in process. That objects turns out to be crazy little creature that attacks Moses and his band (making a room for Sam to run away). But kids are not just some lame kids – they have knifes, bats, machetes and what not, so they kill the creature. Unfortunately, soon they realize that its just a beginning and creatures coming after won’t be so easy to kill. And instead of running away, they decide to give a fight to the invaders of the block…
Film essentially resembles “District 9” in unique representation of the characters and alien problem. Yes, this is another alien invasion film, how many are we going to have yet, you are going to ask, but believe me when I say, this is NOT the alien invasion movie you have seen before. All the films alike released this year – “Battle: Los Angeles”, “Super 8”, “Cowboys and Aliens”, “The Thing”, “Transformers 3” – all this big budget Hollywood productions don’t stand a chance against “Attack the Block” in the creativity, character development, storyline or even the acting.
The tone of the movie is similar to that of “Shaun of the Dead“, and that’s not surprising, the director is a long collaborator of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. Even Nick Frost has a minor role, as a supporting character, who provides some good laughs throughout.
I’d like to mention the character development in the movie. Every member of the band of unlikely heroes is full of resentment, anger, hate, and are true future street thugs. They rob people, smoke weed, deal some other “white” drugs, and are ready to move the steps of gangster hierarchy. But in one moment they turn all their hate towards society and police to the alien creatures, maybe forever changing their attitude toward life in general. The biggest transition comes in the character of Moses, played really well by newcomer John Boyega. And by the end of the movie you no longer feel resentment against these kids. You understand under different conditions – with proper education, housing, government support – they would have been completely different people.
Being a low budget film, the director was somehow limited in CGI usage, and yet he somehow keeps a proper balance of not showing much and not showing enough. Unlike some other movies mentioned above, which either withhold the creatures up until long into the movie, or show them in such detail that not a single object in the frame is actually real.
I really enjoyed the movie and would like to praise the effort of bringing something new to the genre full of cliches. I give it 8/10.
PS: If you decide to watch it, I highly recommend watching it with subtitles. British street slang is not so easy to comprehend.