Monday, 12 March 2012

Review - Attack the Block (2011 - Dir. Joe Cornish)

What would happen if an alien landed in South London and was found by some teenage gang members? Mmm, an interesting premise for a film. They do exactly as you'd expect. Batter it. (Not literally, but I know a local chippy that would be quite happy to do it for you.) They lug it around London, showing their mates and generally having a right laugh. Then the alien's mates arrive...

My initial thoughts on this film were not that positive. For the first fifteen minutes the gang are all quite obnoxious and irritating. Plus they mug Jodie Whittaker's character, Sam. But gradually you warm to the little tinkers. By the end I quite liked the happy little fellows. I suppose I fell into the director's (Joe Cornish from out of Adam and Joe) evil little trap. 

Being a thick northener, I could have done with subtitles for most of the London speak. (Simon Howard, who plays Biggz, is incomprehensible in real life. Every other word is 'like' or 'that'. That made me warm to him even more.) Out of the gang Pest (Alex Esmail) is my favourite, being an expert in the use of fireworks as weapons. His rap in the extras is quality as well. John Boyega as Moses looks so much like a young Denzel that it's spooky. Not the most endearing of characters, but he gets a top hero moment at the end of the film. The flies in the ointment are Luke Treadaway and (surprisingly) Nick Frost. Both of them irritated me and were blatantly unfunny. Everyone else is great. The group of girls are really convincing, possibly more so than the lads.

The effects on the aliens are great, all bristling black hair and glowing teeth. They were rotoscoped in a Ralph Bakshi fashion. This is a way better use of computers than making a fully computer generated creature. They look believable as they charge about chewing everything. 

Joe Cornish has done a great job with this film. You can tell he has researched how the characters would talk and made them believable. An impressive debut. Just hope he doesn't go all Source Codey big-budgety like Duncan Jones.

So, well worth watching, if only to see Doncaster Rovers' El Hadji Diouf as a South London drug lord. Shame he didn't get to spit on anyone (or any aliens for that matter.) Just wish the aliens had landed in Rotherham. Now that would have been a film.



If you like this you could also try:
The Warriors, Bronx Warriors, Return of the Living Dead.


  1. I too enjoyed the whole thing emornously, but then again I'm a bit more down with the homies so trust and believe! Surely Dioufy would be better cast as the evil leader of the aliens, because people would find it difficult to believe he's a human being. He'd be just as savage but possibly sneakier.

  2. I have been waiting to see this for months. Sadly did not play anywhere close to me. Nice review, sounds like something right up my alley. Hope to snag this from a red box to check it out soon.