ATTACK THE BLOCK (15)
Directed by Joe Cornish
Based in South London, Attack The Block is a seemingly low-budget debut directed by man-of-the-moment Joe Cornish. Low budget the film may have been, but low-quality it certainly is not. The film depicts a teen gang who are forced to unite with their own mugging victim (“Why did you rob a poor person?! Them nurses don’t get paid shit!”) in order to defend their tower block
from oncoming alien invasion, and is, in my opinion, an absolutely hilariously brilliant film. With the tagline ‘Inner City versus Outer Space’, Cornish draws on from action-filled American alien films from the ‘90s and ‘80s (presumably harking back to his earlier years), and at the same time parodies the clichés of the same period, encompassed in the basic concept of large, hairy aliens with bitey teeth. And did I mention that they have glow-in-the-dark teeth? Combining inner-city, street London patois with middle class vernacular, and hooded, mixed cultured ‘yoofs’ with middle-class white adults, we see how representations of youths, colour and urban landscape are turned on their heads, forcing both characters within the plot as well as the viewers to face their preconceptions and redefine them. But it is the humour which really marks out Attack the Block as a memorable and intelligent gem, using the street-smart of the teenagers without patronising their common sense. With comments such as: “…‘You can get bare pea for that alien ting, maybe we should call the tabloids’…. ‘Nah bruv, The Sun will just make it look like dem page 3 girls, allow that shizzle’ ” being chimed out amidst alien attack and thundering action, Cornish succeeds in avoiding the route where the younger characters are pushed to the background by the ‘adults’, choosing instead to benefit from the fearless yet loveable personalities portrayed by Moses (played by John Boyega) and his gang. Also added to the mix is National-Geographic-obsessed stoner Ron, portrayed by the ever amusing Nick Frost, showing how the film grounds itself in British humour without becoming snobby or obscure. However the film also succeeds in reflecting a darker side to the film in the drug-dealing Hi-Hatz, and the dangers of gang culture, showing how Cornish does not choose to ignore the negative image of South-London, but rather seeks to throw light on the way that youngsters can become trapped in this lifestyle.
“Them tings…… I’m gonna merk them!”
Intertwining indignant slang and comical bravado throughout the film, there are several one-liners targeted at a multi-audience, with references to contemporary culture (“Call the police!” “You’re better off calling the Ghostbusters love!”), heart-warming friendship, and fresh action involving all parties “tooling up” to save the council estate tower block, all the while having to make sure that they’ll “be home before ten Mum!”.
For those of you who were impressed by the radioactive-looking chompers onscreen, you’re not the only one, as someone has already taken to selling T-Shirts of the things! And that’s not the only range of merchandise that has generated from the movie, as a game has been released for the iPhone which actually looks quite curious (I’m mainly interested in finding out whether any of the game-characters can hide in the bins like their movie counterparts!)
This is a film that I would definitely recommend to all, it is a sparkling addition to British cinema and, although seeming as if it plays along with the image of ‘hoodies’ and street culture at times, it successfully sheds light on the idea of solidarity, loyalty, and looking out for your mates.