I admit, I’m something of an anglophile to some extent. I enjoy a lot of media related items in regards to the UK, especially when it comes to their more independent comedy films. They seem to do a good job with those.
Which is what Attack the Block is. Big Talk Productions is the group behind the film, which may mean nothing to a lot of people. The production company is behind the Edgar Wright gang including people like Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, etc. I didn’t find Attack the Block as good as those films, but as far as I know the only person involved from that group was Nick Frost with a very minor acting role. Still that production name got my attention.
So Attack the Block (not Attack of the Block or Blog, which I keep typing accidentally) is an alien invasion film set in South London. A small group of hoods and up having a “war” with some aliens. The story isn’t anything special. It’s pretty basic, but director Joe Cornish did a good job at helping to make the film entertaining and provide something of a different take on the genre.
The aliens. Must mention them. Initially they are handled well. You don’t really get a good look at them, and what you do see is really nice looking. Unfortunately, by the halfway point or a little later that no longer matters. For whatever reason we see the aliens up close and in detail (well sort of). There are a number of shots that no longer obscure the aliens as well. Basically they are no longer a surprise and they actually start to seem a bit hokey because of it. Had the director kept them obscured (at least while they were alive and moving) like he initially did, then that alone would’ve improved the film.
In going with the decrease in care of the aliens deception the thrill of the movie faded as well. While this isn’t Silence of the Lambs, the movie started out at least doing a good job at building some nice tension and suspense. It actually seemed a bit like a rarely decent slasher film. Unfortunately things kind of unraveled on that end. I’m guessing it probably had to do with the added focus on developing the characters more as well as doing some fancier action scenes. While those are good things, the thrills and surprise didn’t need to be sacrificed.
The characters and of course cast is what helps make this film. It seems that most of the actors (at least the “hoods”) are relatively new or first time actors. They were all extraordinary great. I hope I get to see them in more films. And these characters do speak with a heavier accent with slang, but I was perfectly able to understand them.
Having browsed IMBD (which I usually regret doing) there seem to be a number of topics regarding racism with this movie. I don’t want to dwell on that whole debacle, but I’ll touch on it. I didn’t find it racist. The cast is mixed and yes the kids are all non-white or mixed but one (could be wrong on that. Figuring out someones race by appearance is nota good idea). There’s racism in the movie if you want it I suppose. I never saw that, but I can see where it wouldn’t be hard to pull that out.
The movie does however touch on race/class half heartedly. The movie is a comedy/action flick, not a social commentary. Yet there are a few random attempts to delve into the kids lives and rationalize why they are mugging someone in the opening of the film. The final scenes are very much making a big deal about that. Unfortunately I wasn’t fond of it because it wasn’t developed. There was room in this film to add that social commentary. It actually could have been a really nice addition. The movie though does not run with this theme for most of the movie and its large addition to the end of the film was out of place. The movie is short and I would have glad sat and watched a two hour version had they chosen to flesh those themes out.
That’s my biggest complaint. The movie seemed like it might have been edited down quite a bit. That or they added some stuff randomly at the end. The movie overall is really good, but again I would have loved to seen a longer version where they fleshed things out more, because I think they could have done it. The ending just didn’t mesure up to the rest of the movie.
Despite any negative comments above, I really loved the film. It’s short so it is really watchable in that sense. It’s also a great comedy with some nice action and thrills in it. Great pacing as well. Defiantly worth checking out and I feel like it has a good rewatchability factor.