Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review - Attack the Block (2011)

“This is too much madness to fit into one text!”

Director: Joe Cornish
Starring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker and Nick Frost
Writer: Joe Cornish

I heard many good things about this movie, I was hoping for something along the lines of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, but this time with aliens. However this turned out to be a completely different kettle of fish. But I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It all has to do with the main group of kids and how they are introduced at the beginning of the movie.

At the start our crew of kids are actually introduced by mugging a young woman called Sam (Jodie Whittaker). It’s not exactly the best way to introduce your hero’s, and right from the beginning I was put off. Further into the film the personalities of the kids were really grating and I wanted to just smack the hell out of them, or at least watch them die at the hands of the aliens. But then something started to happen, I started to get behind the main character of Moses. This is thanks to the performance of John Boyega, who brings a quiet reserve to Moses and becomes the embodiment of hope. That no matter how bad things get, there will always be some good.

Alien design in the mofo is some of the best I’ve seen in a while. It was really unique and the darker than dark fur really gave an otherworldly look that some designs fail to do, not to mention the awesome neon glowing maw that just looked great. Other than the visual design of the aliens, the look of the English blocks is interesting. Joe Cornish does have a great eye, and does create a wonderful sense of tone thanks to the lighting. Also the way the block is lit, it creates a sense of menace, and allows us to see an environment where you could see these kids becoming hooligans. With aliens and environmental lighting the movie does have a distinct visual style that did impress me.

Story wise the film moves along at a decent pace, and manages to progress the story along without a hell of a lot of exposition. There is a redemptive story being told underneath the alien shenanigans, which for me proved rather effective. Hat’s off to Cornish again for being able to create a story with reprehensible teens, yet managing to give them qualities that doesn’t make them absolutely bad. I think this will be the major flaw in the movie for people, in that there is a hurdle to get behind the kids. Some will take the same path as Jodie Whittaker’s characters; others will just not be able to accept it.

I would recommend this to people into the science fiction and horror genres. And while very different beasts, I would say that if you liked Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz you would have no problem with this movie. People will find it hard to sympathise with the main characters but there is an interesting story of redemption if you are willing to go along with it. Attack the Block is a good movie that offers more than it lets on at first.

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