Attack the Block
This review first appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 25th March 2012
Coming in at an economical 90 minutes, British indie flick Attack the Block is as bright, quick and surprising as its script and its young (mostly non-professional) actors. Joe Cornish co-wrote the script for Spielberg’s Adventures of Tintin and has created a lot of British telly, but this is his first time at the helm of a feature film. Such is the wit and originality of this sublime piece of nonsense, you wouldn’t know he wasn’t a seasoned professional.
The film opens on a typical south London street as a young woman hurries home in the dark, only to be accosted by a gang of muggers. But no sooner have we taken against these callous hooligans, than an alien lifeform plummets from the night sky, a move interpreted as blatantly antagonistic by the “bruvs”. As the council estate is besieged by monsters of indeterminate origin and motivation, the lads decide to turn their human menacing to good use and fight back.
It’s basically an action movie where the heroes are foul-mouthed, spotty teenagers, trying to be all street and out-bravado their mates one minute, then phoning their mums in politely hushed tones the next. Feeling at times rather like a feature-length episode of Spaced (and with a cameo from Simon Pegg’s other half, Nick Frost), ATB takes a very simple premise, some lo-fi special effects, and shows how snappy dialogue and a few stock, but hilarious characters, can provide an uproarious night at the flicks.