Director: Joe Cornish
Writer: Joe Cornish
Cast: John Boyega, Jodie Whitaker
Attack The Block is a British monster flick created by Joe Cornish, who directed Hanna earlier this year and wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Tintin film. It tells the story of a group of young kids who, on the night of an alien invasion, are besieged in their council flat and are forced to defend it.
The gang is lead by a boy called Moses who looks and I guess acts like a young Fifty Cent. Although he ultimately inherits the mantle of being the film’s protagonist, we are first introduced to him when he mugs a woman on the street. Moses is an intriguing anti-hero. On face value, he is violent and aspires to be a drug dealer. Yet we come to admire the way he fights for his home – the Block – and inspires courage in his friends.
Moses’ character, which is multifaceted and has shades of gray, is not unlike the content of the film as a whole. Attack the Block can be enjoyed first and foremost as a well-constructed and fast paced action comedy. The film does not have a particularly high budget or much in the way of special effects but clever use of camera angles and razor sharp editing help bring the film to life.
Look beneath the surface however and the film has a host of social issues which it touches upon. It explores race, class divide, police profiling, negligent parenting and drug use. The interesting thing is that the film doesn’t really offer any easy answers to these issues. They are simply there to provide some colour and context to the tale. Best of all, despite being a film about troubled working class kids fighting drug dealers and aliens, the film has a surprisingly optimistic and cheery tone throughout. And that comes from the sheer enthusiasm of Moses’ friends who appear to treat the alien invasion as just one of the many activities that you do with your mates during the summer holidays.
On a side note, I’d like to make a point of saying what a good job the creators of Attack the Block did with the design of the alien creatures. It is a simple, effective and distinctive design. One of my few gripes with Super 8 from earlier this year is that despite its larger budget and production values, the creature itself was an overdesigned mess that didn’t really look like anything.
In summary, Attack the Block is a hugely enjoyable monster movie. It has a unique style, has the capacity to elicit both tension and laughter, and is one of the best films the genre has seen in years.