Growing up in the inner city, there are two challenges that you have no choice, but to face sooner or later. One will be the dangers that might be around the corners every now and then and the other will be the stereotypes we'll all have to face even if we're model citizens. The most aggravating of the two are the stereotypes that may come from some of the people from various walks of life who have never set foot in the kind of area that I used to live in. It's pretty easy to avoid most of the negative things that go on, but the stereotypes always seem to remain. Attack the Block takes a look at both of those things and more on its way to telling this sci-fi tale.
Attack the Block is a film that follows a gang of tough inner-city thugs whose night turns into a fight for their lives when aliens arrive in their neighborhood. With Moses (John Boyega) as their leader, the gang tries to defend their turf against an invasion of creatures of an unknown species. Throughout the night, they run around the neighborhood biding time and attempting to figure out how to dispose of the aliens while also trying to avoid getting on the bad side of a drug dealer known as Hi Hatz (Jumayn Hunter), the man who runs the block.
I've always believed that a great movie is at its best when there's a good cast involved. Even though most of them don't have a long list of credentials, this is a cast that fits that description and more than holds its own. These actors produce lively characters that are truly engaging. Each one of them seems to have a certain presence that is easy to take notice of and comes off as natural. They own the screen when it's their time and they allow you to become interested in the film and the personalities they present to the audience.
You take the actors and mix them in with a witty script from writer/director Joe Cornish and you get something positive here. They're able to build this world and fill it with several different things. There's continuous action, well-timed comedy, interesting characters and a little social commentary thrown in. This mixture allows the film to be more than an action/adventure with a little comedy. As a result, they're able to focus on making the people human and it asks the viewer to see past the stereotypes and the images that come with them. The way that this is constructed creates a more life-like image of these youngsters and allows them to be positive in their roles as accidental heroes.
With that being said, most of the film is obviously about what happens on a night when aliens touch down on earth and how these kids go on to defend themselves and their territory. When it comes to saving the day, these kids don't have a deep arsenal of weapons to choose from. Because of this, they improvise and use baseball bats, swords, and fireworks as their main source of weaponry. It adds to the charm of a film that already has tons of it due to all of the other aspects that are included.
There are a lot of good things going on in Attack the Block. It's a short movie, but I was surprised at how much stuff they were able to fit into it without it ever feeling mashed together. Everything fits well and nothing is forced. That says quite a bit about the ability that the first time film director has when it comes to his craft. This film was fun from beginning to end with no real drops in entertainment. It's something that needs to get more exposure due to the fact that it's an all around great film.
Director: Joe Cornish
Film Length: 88 minutes
Release Date: July 29, 2011
Distributor: Screen Gems