Attack the Block

08/22/2015 15:04

Film: Attack the Block

Year: 2011

Director: Joe Cornish

Writer: Joe Cornish

Starring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker and Alex Esmail



This film is one that I saw back when I was working at Family Video. I don’t believe I took it home as a pre-street, but it was one that I saw the trailer for while working on the weekends. My sister watched it with me and I’m sure we both liked it after that viewing. I probably haven’t seen this in a decade. The synopsis is a teen gang in South London defends their block from an alien invasion.

We start with a young woman leaving work. She is a nurse by the name of Sam (Jodie Whittaker). She got out late and it is dark out. To pass the time she is chatting with her mother on the phone. A celebration is going on with fireworks. On her way she is blocked by a group of hoodlums by Moses (John Boyega). With him are Pest (Alex Esmail), Jerome (Leeon Joenes), Dennis (Franz Drameh) and Biggz (Simon Howard). They rob her of her purse, her phone and a ring she is wearing. During this attack, something falls from the sky onto a nearby parked car.

Moses goes to steal what he can from it and is attacked by whatever crashed into the car. It scratches his face, which makes him angry and thing flees. With his gang they chase after it, cornering it inside a shed where they kill it.

They return to their block riding high from their conquest and go up to a weed grower who lives on the top floor. They bring the dead alien to store in his weed room until they figure out what to do with it. While there, Moses talks to the local gangster who runs the area, Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter). He recruits Moses and gives him drugs to sell for him.

Moses returns to his friends to see more things falling from the sky. They decide to get weapons and kill more of them. While this goes on, Sam goes to the police about the attack and they tell her that they will make a pass of the area to find them.

When the gang gets out there, they find out these monsters are a lot larger, angrier and harder to kill. Moses gets busted by the cops and as they are locking him up, they get attacked. To make their escape, Moses steals their van along with Sam in the back and a few of his friends. They try to hide it in a parking garage. The problem becomes during their escape, they crash into Hi’Hatz’ car and pissing off this gangster.

The gang escapes back to the block, with the aliens following and seeming know where they are at all times. Plus with Hi-Hatz angry and on their trail, will they survive this attack?

That is where I’m going to leave my recap for this movie and where I want to start is stating that I’m glad I gave this one a rewatch. I enjoyed that first viewing, but watching it now, there is much more to it than I realized. First, I liked seeing this group of hoodlums from a different country. They aren’t that much different from a gang of teens that they think they’re hard from the United States. I think this shows that no matter where groups like this are, they are similar. I also liked seeing the reality of them as we get to know them.

What I mean there is that Sam is irate with them. I should point out that her and this group clash as she lives in the same building as them. They in their own way apologize for robbing her. They have morals. Moses states they would never steal from anyone in their block. Jerome also reveals that they were terrified in robbing her. They aren’t criminals yet. They are teens that have looked up to the gangsters in their area and want what they have. They are victims more of circumstance. It is even more interesting to see Probs (Sammy Williams) and Mayhem (Michael Ajao), who are even younger kids trying to be like Moses and his gang.

We also get an interesting social commentary here. Sam states that she isn’t sure the police will show up. They are busy, but she doesn’t live in the nicest place. That is something we see in America. We also get to see that the gang takes care of their own. There is pride in where they are from and this is definitely something we see in the US. They don’t have much, but they do have their pride. This also goes back to not trusting the police. The ending really shows that and it actually makes me tear up. With that established, I love the idea of taking an alien invasion and setting it in a place like this. Since this gang takes care of their own, they will defend it with their lives.

I think that gives you enough for the story and the commentary, so I will take this to the acting. I remember the first time seeing this and thought that Boyega does well as Moses. It is crazy that I didn’t connect that he was Finn in the new Star Wars trilogy. I think he does a great job here as Moses. Whittaker is solid as Sam. I can understand her anger in the beginning, but the more she gets to know the gang, it makes more sense. Esmail, Jones, Drameh and Howard are all solid as these hoodlums. I liked seeing Luke Treadaway as Brewis. He’s a middle class kid in the area to buy weed. It makes it even better than the weed dealer is Nick Frost. Aside from that, I thought Hunter was solid as this harder gangster, who might be full it. The rest of the cast also rounded this out for what was needed.

Then finally I’ll move this over to the effects and cinematography. For the former, I like the look of the aliens. The first one we see is a bit different from the ones later, which is good. There is a logical explanation for that and it also gives our gang a false sense of security. For the larger aliens, they are black to the point where they blend in. Now there is CGI here for their teeth that are glowing. I like this effect. It makes it look like eyes until they fully open their mouths. I could tell this was done by computers, but it didn’t bother me. Aside from that, I thought the cinematography was well done.

So then in conclusion here, this movie was one that I liked after my first viewing and I just appreciate it more after this second one. I think we have an interesting social commentary here following this gang of teens. We don’t like them at first, but we slowly change that much like Sam. It is interesting to take an alien invasion and do it on a smaller scale. The acting fits for the characters, giving them all distinct personalities. The effects work for me, including the practical and CGI. The soundtrack also fit for what was needed. This is a good movie to me. I would definitely recommend giving this a viewing. I will warn you though; this is from the United Kingdom. The accents and slang might be a bit difficult to understand so I watch with subtitles on. I just wanted you to be aware coming into this one.


My Rating: 8 out of 10