Attack the Block!!! Heard of it? Probably not, because it isn’t a superhero movie!! Get out from under your rock and join me on an adventure of a review, where I may or may not tell you about the best movie of the summer (Adventure not guaranteed).
Attack the Block is a movie. A movie about a group of teenagers, some drug dealers, a nurse, and aliens. Not stupid looking aliens. Not peaceful aliens. Eat-your-fucking-face aliens. And their teeth look like they ate everyone in a rave (you’ll understand when you see it).
Attack the Block is a movie. A movie about gang life, comedy, friendship, some drama, and aliens. Not stupid, nonsensical why-did-you-ruin-Indiana-Jones aliens. Not hi-I’m-a-talking-Seth-Rogan-too-much-cgi alien. Eat-your-fucking-face-while-a-kid-named-Moses-leads-his-people-to-the-promise-land aliens. And the promised land is a samurai sword, a baseball bat, a gun, a kitchen knife, a lot of fireworks, a machete, a pizza-delivery Vespa, and a room full of weed.
I loved Attack the Block. And you will too if you like any of the following;
– Adventure movies (think The Goonies)
– Horror movies (think Gremlins or Critters)
– Sci-fi movies
– Comedy movies (think a little bit Sean of the Dead, but it’s really more like Gremlins sense of humor)
– A splash of drama
Attack the Block is all of these things and none of them at the same time. It tastefully manages to take elements of multiple genre’s and mashes them up into it’s own creation without conforming itself to a single genre, trope, or cliché. There is not a lot of gore, but the gore that is there is excellent. There is a little bit of comedy, but never too much. There is a lot of adventure, but the plot is always clear and characters feel important. The characters are serious, but never too dramatic. They feel like real people delivering real lines. There is some suspense, but never enough to feel like you are in a full-blown horror movie.
Speaking of real people delivering real lines. Let’s talk about the actors.
John Boyega was a great pick for the lead actor and I hope he has a great career after this movie. His character is named Moses and is as cold-hearted as he is heroic. Moses is not afraid to fuck your shit up, but at the same time there is a collective cool to his demeanor that makes it clear why he is the group’s leader.
Jodie Whittaker plays a nurse named Sam who starts off as one of Moses’s victims and becomes an ally. Overall her performance was very solid (everyone’s was) and she provides a great counterbalance to the youth and violence of Moses’s gang.
All of Moses’s gang was excellent and many of the actors seem new to the film industry, but pull off their roles like professionals.
Jumayne Hunter rocks as a dangerous, and I mean dangerous in the ten-men-enter-and-one-man-leaves sort of way, drug-dealing asshole. His story isn’t entirely necessary, but his role is a welcome addition that fleshes out many scenes.
Also notable roles are Luke Treadaway as Brewis, who is an upper class youth who wishes he had a harder life. Many times this leads to comical results. And Nick Frost plays a drug dealer, who really only is in the movie for a little while, but that’s okay, because he makes us all smile when he is on-screen.
Then there are the aliens.
The aliens are complex and minimalistic at the same time. The movie hangs a lantern on the fact that there was a limited budget to produce this movie by making the aliens “blacker than black” and they still look awesome. They are awesome. I want one of my own that I will name Killer…. because he will kill people. See what I did there? …. Nevermind.
I should note that the special effects, lighting, and make-up were all phenomenal. When someone gets hit, they bruise. When they get bitten, they bleed. When they get a cut, it stays with them the rest of the movie. None of this “I was hurt five minutes ago, but I’m all better now” nonsense.
AND THE MUSIC!! ZOH MY GAWD…. The score is done by The Basement Jaxx and is easily my favorite movie score of the summer. It totally nails the vibe of the movie and provides the really cool UK underground tunes.
Attack the Block will only be getting a limited release here in America so go see it while you can!! It has already snatched up the midnight feature award at the 2011 SXSW and the audience award for best narrative at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival. Attack the Block is directed by Joe Cornish. This is his directorial debut and it is one hell of a debut.
Go see Attack the Block.