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Attack the Block

Attack the Block: Smart and Hilarious Alien Invasion Flick

  • Alex EsmailJodie Whittaker...
  • Action & AdventureComedy...
  • Out now
  • Joe Cornish
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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Attack the Block: Smart and Hilarious Alien Invasion Flick

A gang of teenagers, living in a council estate in South London are casually
mugging a woman when an alien suddenly falls out of the sky and starts snarling and clawing
at them. They promptly kick its face in and drag it over to their drug dealer’s
weed room for safekeeping. While biking around afterwards, the police pick them
up and arrest Moses (Boyega), when suddenly a bigger, hairier alien rushes over
and kills the police. The kids make a run for it while the aliens, police and
their drug dealer – who is pissed off at them for attracting police to the area
– are all trying to get their hands on them. They take refuge with Sam
(Whittaker), the woman they mugged, while they try and stay a step ahead of
their pursuers. 

This film is genius! It’s a social treatise disguised as an alien
invasion. It shows the lengths that a poor, young black man has to
go to save his loved ones because he can’t rely on or trust the police. Under ordinary
circumstances, he gets arrested when he hasn’t done anything; so he knows that
if he calls the police to help him against the aliens while there are corpses everywhere,
he’ll get framed for everything.

 The aliens are not the main draw here. This isn’t the kind of film that
you watch to gawk over the amazing alien graphics. This is a low-budget film
with aliens that look more like ink-black, furry apes with razor-sharp fangs.
In fact, the aliens could easily be compared to Dobby, Gollum and the Gremlins.
We see our first alien within the first five minutes and from that point on the
film is a hubbub of activity.

There are gunfights, car chases; bikes crashing down
stairs, knives flung ninja-style, combative use of fireworks and a liberal dose
of people running for their lives. The only time the action slows down is when
we’re focused on one of the stoner characters; and even then you know that
something particularly loud is going to happen within minutes.

The gang members do a really great job. Boyega as Moses is the
disaffected leader. Left alone with pretty much nothing in the way of adult
care or guidance, the police’s attitude to young black men has pretty much made
it certain that he’ll turn to the drug dealer for help. Ironically, the drug
dealer is the only adult who treats him with respect and consideration.

Whittaker as Sam provides his white middle-class foil. It’s through her
frequent admonitions for him to call the police that we find out just what he
thinks of the police and what they think of him. Esmail as Pest, one of Moses’
friends, provides most of the wisecracking comic relief, while Treadaway is great
as Brewish, a hipster stoner who is inadvertently caught up in the madness and
frequently wishes that he were back in his middle-class life. 

Attack the Block is
smart, hilarious and super entertaining; a perfect blend of science fiction,
comedy and action.

Like This? Try

Hot Fuzz, Shaun Of The Dead, Zombieland

360 Tip

Writer/Director Joe Cornish was inspired to make this film after he was mugged in pretty much the same way that Sam gets mugged in the film.

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