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Review: Attack the Block

Attack the Block
Jul. 28, 2011by:
9 10

PLOT: A teen gang living on a council estate in South London, defend their home during an alien invasion.

REVIEW: Despite the universally glowing reviews out of SXSW, I wasn't 100% convinced that I was going to like ATTACK THE BLOCK. I knew that the project was Godfathered by the great Edgar Wright, and usually that would be enough, but something about the first trailer rubbed me the wrong way. This might be due to the fact that I was heavy into THE WIRE Season 4 at the time, and the trailer made it look (to me anyways) as some sort of SHAUN OF THE DEAD inspired take off on THE WIRE, or SUPER 8 gone gangsta, which of course, it's not.


As far as comedy-horror hybrids go, ATTACK THE BLOCK is one of the more succesfull I've seen in a while, although I'd wager it emphasizes laughs over scares. Some have argued that it glamorizes the teen gangbanger lifestyle a bit, and sure- maybe it does marginally, but when the film opens, they aren't presented too glamorously. It begins with them mugging a young nurse (Jodie Whittaker) who lives on their block, with the kids, led by Moses (a brilliant John Boyega) treating her very roughly indeed.

Interestingly, it's also suggested that the only reason the aliens are attacking in the first place is due to Moses' unprovoked attack on one of them, and afterwards claiming it's body as some sort of trophy. Other than that, ATTACK THE BLOCK doesn't spend a whole lot of time examining the lives and motivations of the kids comprising our central gang, but the point is made that their lives seem pretty damn hopeless at times, although this aspect is not dwelled upon. The only things they can rely on are each other, and some rad reefer courtesy of the nice guy pot dealer (Nick Frost, in what essentially amounts to an extended cameo) upstairs, who works for a vicious drug dealer that rules the block.

Running a breezy eighty-eight minutes, the alien attack happens early, and from there the action rarely stops to take a break, being propelled along by a wicked score courtesy of Basement Jaxx. It's a wild ride, and while the kids are a bit thuggish at first, don't be surprised if they grow on you by the end, although- being a hard R, the stakes are high, and you can bet a whole lot of them don't make it to the end credits.

Our lead is definitely Boyega as Moses, and to give you an idea of the effect he had on the Fantasia audience, they were all chanting "Moses, Moses" by the end of the film. He's absolutely perfect as the "old before his time" Moses, who's like 15 going on 40, and is believable in his transition from wannabe gangsta, to hero. Loved him in this, although, to be fair, all of the kids are good.


Also noteworthy is Luke Treadaway as a stoner suburbanite who, thanks to a hankerin' for some of Nick Frost's sweet ganja, has the worst night of his life while tagging along with Moses and co., as they try to repel the alien horde. As for Frost- well, he's Frost, meaning he's awesome as always.

One thing that's unique about ATTACK OF THE BLOCK is the look of the aliens, with lots of shadow and florescent lighting being used. This may be in part due to the (presumably) low-budget, but whatever the case it works, and give the film an original look.

Regardless of whether ATTACK THE BLOCK catches on Stateside, I presume director Joe Cornish (who's already co-written Spielberg's TINTIN with Wright) is going to find himself squarely on the Hollywood A-list before long, and if ever there was a guy cut out to direct crowd-pleasing genre-fare, this is the guy. It's a hell of a calling card for Cornish, but more than that, it's also a genuinely great film, and one of the more memorable ones I've seen lately.

Source: JoBlo.com

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4:33PM on 08/22/2011
did this movie EVER came out stateside? just from READING the plot and the review im tempted to see it..but this was from-like-a month ago..so what gives?
did this movie EVER came out stateside? just from READING the plot and the review im tempted to see it..but this was from-like-a month ago..so what gives?
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3:29AM on 08/03/2011
I loved this movie! It's my favorite of 2011 so far.
I loved this movie! It's my favorite of 2011 so far.
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2:01AM on 07/29/2011

I Gotta See This!

I've been hearing a lot about this film. I need to check it out because I'm very interested in seeing it.
I've been hearing a lot about this film. I need to check it out because I'm very interested in seeing it.
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8:11PM on 07/28/2011

Definitely want to check this out.

But that's a bold statement to compare season 4 of The Wire (the kids anyway) to this.
But that's a bold statement to compare season 4 of The Wire (the kids anyway) to this.
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7:08PM on 07/28/2011
Awesome review. I wish a theater near me was playing this!!
Awesome review. I wish a theater near me was playing this!!
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6:42PM on 07/28/2011
I'm not surprised to read a positive review for Attack The Block but I find it hard to believe that it's better than Cowboys & Aliens.
I guess we'll see Mr. Bumbray.
I'm not surprised to read a positive review for Attack The Block but I find it hard to believe that it's better than Cowboys & Aliens.
I guess we'll see Mr. Bumbray.
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6:28PM on 07/28/2011
Cant say I plan on seeing this anytime soon
Cant say I plan on seeing this anytime soon
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+2
6:06PM on 07/28/2011
Really want to see this. Hopefully it will make it's way to more theaters around the bay after it's play in SF. Otherwise, I'll have to check it out on dvd.
Really want to see this. Hopefully it will make it's way to more theaters around the bay after it's play in SF. Otherwise, I'll have to check it out on dvd.
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-3
5:54PM on 07/28/2011
I'd give it a 7/10. It was good, but I felt like I needed subtitles a good 80% of the time when the kids were talking. The creature design was brilliant. Loved the way they looked and moved.
I'd give it a 7/10. It was good, but I felt like I needed subtitles a good 80% of the time when the kids were talking. The creature design was brilliant. Loved the way they looked and moved.
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+2
5:44PM on 07/28/2011
I loved this movie! Do yourself a favor and see it this weekend if it's in your city.
I loved this movie! Do yourself a favor and see it this weekend if it's in your city.
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5:43PM on 07/28/2011
I don't think the film is that good. I mean, it doesn't do anything new to the alien invasion genre but it's entertaining for what it is. 7/10
I don't think the film is that good. I mean, it doesn't do anything new to the alien invasion genre but it's entertaining for what it is. 7/10
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5:43PM on 07/28/2011
Enjoyed this movie when it was at the cinema in the UK. It's fast paced and aggressively entertaining. Well worth checking out. Loved the look of the aliens too. Joe Cornish is a comedy legend to people of a certain age in the UK, so it's cool to see him getting a shot as a director.
Enjoyed this movie when it was at the cinema in the UK. It's fast paced and aggressively entertaining. Well worth checking out. Loved the look of the aliens too. Joe Cornish is a comedy legend to people of a certain age in the UK, so it's cool to see him getting a shot as a director.
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-49
4:27PM on 07/28/2011

...

9 out of 10? how can a lame movie like this get a 9? judge a movie for what it is not for who plays in it or budget or who made it. your review SUCKS!
9 out of 10? how can a lame movie like this get a 9? judge a movie for what it is not for who plays in it or budget or who made it. your review SUCKS!
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5:18PM on 07/28/2011
He reviewed it according to how much he liked it...which is, you know, how reviews work.
He reviewed it according to how much he liked it...which is, you know, how reviews work.
5:18PM on 07/28/2011
Shut the hell up.
Shut the hell up.
9:42PM on 07/28/2011
You mad bro?
You mad bro?
3:33PM on 08/01/2011
What didn't you like about the film ? - i thought it was pretty good 8/10
What didn't you like about the film ? - i thought it was pretty good 8/10
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