September 7, 2011

Filthy Review - Attack the Block

Attack the Block (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Coming straight out of the badlands of South London is this little alien invasion flick, which has taken entirely too long to get to the States. It’s the directorial debut of Joe Cornish, who popped up in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and was produced by one Edgar Wright (hence the From the Producers of Shaun of the Dead tag). Before we go any further though, I will just clarify that, Attack the Block is not really a comedy. There are humorous moments, but for the most part it is played straight.

The plot centers around Moses and his gang of teenage thugs who like nothing more than to terrorize and mug innocent folk who stray too close to their Council Estate, or block if you would prefer. During one of their outings they happen across a little critter who drops out of the sky, which they quickly put out of its misery. This was probably not the wisest decision they ever made. I could go on about the plot but I see no point, it’s a movie best viewed without too much knowledge of what happens. You have kids and you have aliens. Enjoy.

Now, I will get this out of the way before I go any further. I did enjoy Attack the Block, it’s a fun movie that has plenty of energy from both the director and from the cast. If you take it purely at surface value you have a thoroughly decent flick. It is not anywhere near the same caliber of film as the previously mentioned Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, yet it is still a good film. A good film, not a great film, and a film with many annoying problems.

My first problem, and it is quite a big one, is with the writing behind the movie. To cut a long story short it is incredibly lazy and clichéd. Not the main storyline, or the getting from point A to point B side of the writing, but more the incidental elements to the film. Do all urban flicks from the UK need a clueless upper middleclass pothead? Yes they do apparently, and yes we get one here. One of the main characters, Sam, is a recently qualified nurse, with a boyfriend off doing charity work in Africa, yet she lives in said block of the title. I find that a little hard to believe as she comes across as far too middle class to find herself living there. Shit is falling out of the sky left, right and center yet only the main cast seem to be aware of this. The character development is utterly predictable with just about every characters arc being telegraphed almost from their first scene. There is more but it would involve specific plot points I do not wish to go into for fear of spoiling any surprises.

Sounds like I hated it, right? Not at all, like I previously mentioned it IS fun, it’s one of those films that you just jump on and enjoy the ride. Also, Joe Cornish’s direction is far better than his writing, which results in a visually impressive and well-paced movie. You also get the added bonus of Nick Frost turning up in a supporting role amongst a cast of virtual unknowns. Granted his role isn’t a million miles away from other characters he has played.

I mentioned this after I watched it saying that I would describe Attack the Block as a mish-mash of Critters, Shank and F, but really I could substitute the latter two for any number of recent city center set UK flicks of late. If you want to see a really gritty Council Estate flick I suggest watching Harry Brown or if you want to see great horror comedy watch Shaun of the Dead. Attack the Block falls into a kind of strange middle ground where it isn’t commited to being either. There’s plenty of blood and “pussyo’s” and “murk’s” going on here yet it seems to be holding back from really letting loose in its approach, and as mentioned the comedy is few and far between.

Attack the Block is the kind of movie though that will find a decent size audience, and rightly so. Just because I had problems with elements of it I don’t think everyone will. The UK has put out better genre films of late, it has also churned out far worse. The fact that this one is getting a lot of international exposure though can only be a good thing for future films originating from the green and pleasant land.

Attack the Block is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Sept 19th in the UK and October 25th in the US


jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its appalling and quite outrageous that this completely unwatchable and atrocious pile of British made celluloid dog-shit was given a cinema release in North America, when you think of all the infinitely superior low-budget American made science-fiction and horror movies that are not accorded such a privilege and that have to make do with going straight to DVD instead, its quite absurd, something has got to be done to stop British made films from besmirching and polluting American cinema's once and for all. Death to the British film industry and all the pathetic tosser's who populate it. Hey Jude, i wonder if you`ll have the guts to publish what i`ve said here, or perhaps you wont because you cant face the truth with regards to what a pile of fucking worthless horse-shit the British film industry really is. By the way, i hope that equally unwatchable pile of British made bull-shit "The Inbetweeners Movie" is never given a North American release (of any kind) because that really would be the final and ultimate insult to the greatness of American cinema.

Jimmy Geezer said...

England, "a green and pleasant land" ! ! !, tell that to the poor cunts who have to live in the "hell-on-earth" of the inner city area's, you bloody silly bastard.

Lord of Filth said...

Am guessing sarcasm doesn't register with you Jimmy? ;)

It's not a case of guts Jervaise, half the time you talk out of your ass. But, if it makes you happy...