Attack the Block — movie review — early
Posted on July 6, 2011 by Chris & Kris
We saw Attack the Block a few weeks back at Another Hole in the Head 2011. We’ve been meaning to get this review out sooner, but work and L.A. Noire addiction have hindered that. Here’s a quick look just to give you a heads up.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard about Attack the Block was The Monster Squad. And honestly, the films share a similar vibe. Like The Monster Squad before it, Attack sees a group of outcasts contending with a bizarre menace in their neighborhood. While Monster Squad saw Universal Monsters in the suburbs, this one sees space aliens in the ghetto. Both films straddle the worlds of horror and comedy wonderfully, but while Monster Squad‘s was happy to test the limits of the freshly minted PG-13 rating, Attack The Block opts for a full-on R rated thrills.
Case in point: the film’s opening. We’re introduced to the illustrious alien-fighting crew, as they mug a young woman (Jodie Whittaker) walking home amidst Guy Fawkes revelry. Mid-robbery, an alien falls from the sky, and smases into a car parked on the street. The gang’s leader, Moses (John Boyega), approaches to check it out, only to get his face scratched as the alien flees the premises. Pledging vengeance, the gang sets off after it, corners it in a shed, and kicks it to death. Seriously. And then they parade it about town, showing it off to their friends. While The Monster Squad was content to depict foul mouthed suburban kids, Attack the Block ventures into Lord of the Flies territory.
But I make the film’s protagonists sound sadistic. They’re really not. All this savagery is meant to establish how foolhardy, determined, and resourceful the group of kids are. And when the real big aliens come down, because the film made sure to do a good job of establishing all this, you’re pretty sure they stand a chance against them — even if it’s just a slight one.
And the aliens? They’re pretty intimidating. Imagine furry shadows with glowing teeth, who can rip off your face with a single swipe. First time director Joe Cornish opts for a minimalist approach here, and wisely so. Unlike other cg-heavy creations, the effects should stand up for years to come. These guys are ferocious as hell, and unlike safer horror-comedy fare, not all of our crew survive their attacks.
I really don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I’m going to cut it off here. Just know that Attack the Block moves fast, and never really lets up for its 88 minute runtime. Whether thrilling you with alien combat, or bombarding you with hilarious dialogues peppered with British slang (seriously, you’ll need to listen pretty closely, but it’s damn funny), you’re totally engaged from start to finish. The soundtrack is amazing, the effects are solid, and the acting is top notch. There’s even a bit of social commentary at the end! It’s just all around great, and one of the most solid pictures I’ve seen this Summer.
Attack the Block has a limited release in the US starting July 29th, but expect it to go wider as word of mouth spreads. This is one quality Summer ride. Be sure to check it out.