Attack the Block just got released in the UK on May 11th, and the decision is still up in the air when to release it in the States. As part of the process to “feel out” US audiences, they screened the film for 25 cities on May 25. I was part of one of those audiences. Or at least that’s the story I’m sticking to. This all may be a cover for my secret life as a triple agent spy. OK, yes I went… my life isn’t that interesting.
I don’t want to “review” this in the typical fashion where I detail every little thing that happens in the plot and give away all the surprises. I try not to do that, because I HATE when reviews do that. I will give you the basic premise: alien creatures land in South London and are met by a teenage gang. To quote the tagline for the movie: It’s Inner City vs. Outer Space. If you can get behind that concept, then hop aboard! It’s going to be a fun ride!
This is easily compared to past British cult-film favorites Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It’s funny, gory, tense, and fun. Director/Writer Joe Cornish is one to keep an eye on. He blends horror, comedy and drama deftly and leaves you pumped up at the end. This will be a “Cult Classic” for sure. I’m not sure it has enough mainstream appeal to hit “big”, but I am hoping American audiences prove me wrong. It certainly deserves it.
The acting by the nearly unknown cast is fabulous. The biggest name is the always fun to watch Nick Frost, but he’s just a featured performer in this. The main stars are the teenage gang. The lead of the gang is named “Moses” and is played by newcomer John Boyega, and he is a stand out. This movie would have died if this kid wasn’t good, and he surpasses good and enters great territory.
The gang isn’t played as sympathetic at first, which I think is a bold move that really pays off. This way, you see the characters grow and change. They go from someone you want to see kicked in the face, to the ones you are rooting for to survive.
Speaking of survive, the tone of Attack The Block felt more like a zombie movie to me than anything. The band of characters are trying to survive an onslaught that they are in no way prepared for.
The effects in this are also great, blending CGI and Practical creatures seamlessly. The gore is also quite well done.
The writing is snappy and the dialogue is witty, with some great one-liners that I’m sure will work their way into my quote bank.
It’s a thrill-ride from start to finish, but it also has some nice character development. It’s a coming of age story, set in a sci-fi invasion tale.
You all need to go to the US page they have set up on Facebook and tell them you want to see this movie. This needs to be experienced first on a big screen. If you are one of those that are kicking yourself that you missed Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz in cinemas, you owe it to yourself to see this one there.