Sunday, September 11, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: Attack the Block

Director: Joe Cornish
Writer: Joe Cornish
Nick Frost: Ron
Jodie Whittaker: Sam
John Boyega: Moses
Luke Treadaway: Brewis
Terry Notary: The Creature
Alex Esmail: Pest
Joey Ansah: Policeman 1
Flaminia Cinque: Italian Woman
Paige Meade: Dimples
Leeon Jones: Jerome
Jumayn Hunter: Hi-Hatz
Adam Leese: Policeman 2
Chris Wilson: Arresting Police Officer
Lee Nicholas Harris: Police Officer - swat
Franz Drameh: Dennis

Sam's walking home from a late-night shift at the hospital. She's chatting with her Mum on her cell-phone and not paying attention to her surroundings. The minute she rings off, Sam belatedly realizes she's wandered right into the hands of a street gang.

Of course, she's mugged. She runs home, calls the police, and they go out in a van and attempt to find the hoodlums who robbed her.

It's the movies, of course, they get lucky. Well, not really because that's precisely the moment the aliens land. The police are pretty useless in this invasion, but the street kids know exactly what to do -- and led by Moses, they kill that alien.

It's a strange-looking creature. The closest thing I can think of is ape-like. They take the alien back to a friend's marijuana growing establishment and try to figure the best course for selling the thing and making big money with the tabloids.

Meanwhile, more aliens are coming. But these are different and they're going to be harder to kill. They look like a cross between a gorilla and a bear. They're covered in fur so black it almost eats the night. You really can't see them until they open their eyes and you see blue-green gleaming teeth.

Attack the Block is billed as a comedy and there are some comedic moments; however, the film does not live up to the reputation of either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz.

Actually, the film's not my favorite alien invasion flick, either. I'm not sure where they got the idea of the black shaggy beasts with glow-in-the dark teeth, but they looked like a combination of seventies shag and a veterinary dentist's worst nightmare. I wasn't buying their origin story too much, either.

Where Attack the Block shines is the sociological aspect of the story. Moses (John Boyega), a British-Nigerian actor, makes his screen debut in this film and he rocks the block. This young man is one of the most promising young adult actors I've seen in a long time. He's not only easy on the eyes, but he built the kind of character depth into Moses that leaves a lasting impression. In just a few short minutes, he grows from a thug to a strong leader who's willing to do whatever it takes to protect his people. Who better to deal with this kind of bizarre invasion than a bunch of mid-teen kids whose think outside of the box style of fighting and knowledge of the terrain give them an advantage over the traditional authorities. The human interest story in this film kept me in my seat and made the film worth the price of admission. This is one movie I'd consider showing to sociology, leadership or team-building classes.

Rebecca Kyle, September 2011

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