Thursday, September 29, 2011

Attack the Block

Let's Roll Y'all

Written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Joe Cornish, Attack the Block is one slick alien invasion movie that is a one up against the Hollywood offerings of Skyline and Battle Los Angeles which relied pretty much on impressive special effects to carry the film and to awe its audiences, whereas this effort focused very much on its story which is kept simple, and having troubled delinquents as main protagonists puts it very much like an opposite peer of Super 8, with this bunch of kids here not from your suburban middle class, but from the working class who don't bat an eyelid when engaging in petty crime to sustain their attention span or for fun.

Led by de-facto leader of the bunch Moses (John Boyega), we see them rob Sam (Jodie Whittaker), a nurse on her way home in the same tough neighbourhood, but an extra-terrestrial incident where what would seem like a meteorite came crashing down near them, leading to an all out chase and eventual parading of a dead alien like a trophy catch they had finished off. Before you know it a lot more of them aliens come descending to Earth, and all are converging toward the titular block in the most vile and violent way possible, with everyone else in the way being collateral.

Expect violence and gore, most of which will happen offscreen except for shots that need you to squirm at your seat to highlight the non-discriminatory nature in which the aliens take out all humans in the show. And design-wise they are very stealthy and probably will build a cult following as one of the better designed alien creatures, being decked in all black save for some ultra-violet blue glowing teeth that would probably be the first, and the last thing the characters see before biting the dust, and truly this design worked wonders in the film when suspense was required at any point. They don't get too powerful like most alien invasion movies go, where household appliances would work against them be it electricity, or the good old kitchen knife or the ubiquitous baseball bat, although speed and movement, hunting in packs, are the advantages the alien creatures draw upon.

It's an English film, so language is first and foremost something that will strike you, in the terms these street kids use, as well as the plenty of F-bombs and swear words being thrown around that will take a while to get used to, but nothing that will alienate you from the characters, from stoned punks (Nick Frost, seriously!) to weed growing gangsters. There's also always the British wit involved, and no doubt will bring about comedic moments without trying too hard at being funny for the sake of.

Besides the usual hunter versus prey set action pieces that see aliens chasing after the kids for reasons that will be revealed in due course, what worked here in the story is the very subtly put, and well delivered, morality tale about responsibility, and standing up to fix one's screw up, which is something nice as a reminder for all ages and all walks of life since there are always those who cower and not want to be held accountable for their actions, or lack thereof. Filmed with a sense of urgency to reflect the state of flight of the kids, and stylistically as well - the money shot involving the audacious and bold plan Moses comes up with for execution - Attack the Block is not your usual run of the mill alien invasion flick, but brings something more to the table to put it well above the average genre movie. Recommended!

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