I was lucky enough to get passes and see Attack the Block this week. In case you’re not familiar, it’s a British science fiction movie, and the tagline does it pretty good justice: “Inner City vs. Outer Space”. Here’s the trailer:
So pretty straight forward – bunch of disenfranchised youth living in an inner city apartment building (the ‘Block’), encounter an alien invasion, and decide to fight back. Gory hi-jinks ensue.
First and foremost comes the hurdle of watching a movie portraying South London but not being British. Accents, unfamiliar slang, and some cultural differences occasionally led to an occasional break with the audience, especially right at the start. But whatever culture shock occurred, the actors and staging bridged the gap with a compelling portrayal of urban life. Despite being an ocean apart, the character motivations are quite relatable – boredom, pride, and finding a place in the world – things every young man deals with, not just those in the inner city.
Once past that part, it’s a pretty fun blend of sci-fi monster movie and stoner comedy. There’s a bit of foreshadowing (a few really obvious cases of Chekhov’s Gun) making much of the plot predictable, but it’s really the dialogue and characters carry the movie. The street punks and their leader Moses. The absolutely bonkers drug dealer. The doe-eyed, steel-spined nurse. The two 9-year old pyromaniac anarchists. The unlucky nerd stoner. The hulking blacker-than-night beasts from another planet. You really love them all by the end of the movie.
It’d be really easy to tear this low-budget movie apart. But by the end of it, you don’t really want to. It’s a zany twist on the ‘group of troublesome teens’ comedy and strikes just the right balance of action, gore, comedy, drama, and politics. It’s simply a bit unfortunate that the movie debuted the week before England’s youth broke into raving rioting mobs.
If you don’t have the opportunity to see it in theaters, this is definitely something to rent once it’s available!
Rating: 4 out of 5.