Sunday, May 5, 2013

Overlooked Film of the Week- "Attack The Block" (2011)

Overlooked Film of the Week- #3

Attack The Block

As human beings, we possess a need to protect the things we love. Whether they be our family, friends, homeland, houses, even our prized possessions. This is a quality found in every human being, even if they're rich or poor, old or young, saint or sinner. It is in our nature to guard that in which is priceless to us all.

"Attack The Block" is a British action/science fiction/monster/comedy film about a street gang that loves their turf. Their turf is referred to as "the block," it features a huge high-rise building full of apartments where the young gang lives. Over the course of a night, they will defend their turf against alien invaders.

 As the film begins we meet Sam (Jodi Whittaker) a nurse going home from work for the evening. Fireworks fire off over her head, it is Guy Fawkes night in London. As Sam is making her way to her car, she is mugged by a street gang, led by Moses (John Boyega). The gang is about to finish taking all of Sam's luxury items when lights begin to fall from the sky. The gang quickly stops their mugging and checks out the crater in the street. Suddenly, a giant alien pops out and attacks the gang. Defending themselves, the gang is victorious and they plan to defend their block against any more alien invaders which may come.

And tons more aliens show up, by the dozens. The gang describes the aliens as " wolf/guerrilla looking things" and that is the best description of them. They are eyeless monsters than run on all fours, and have razor sharp teeth that glow in the dark. No laser guns, no flying saucers, the aliens fall from the skies by themselves. The film feels more like a monster movie than an alien invasion movie, no matter how the aliens decide to travel, the film is still lots of fun.

The gang arms themselves with baseball bats, fireworks, chains, ninja swords and various other melee weapons. One of my favorite scenes in the film involves two kids who fill a water-gun full of gasoline, shoot it all over an alien, then throw a match. I found it clever that each gang member is defined by the weapon they carry. 

After much fighting, the gang quickly realizes that the aliens mean business. Some gang members get wounded, others die. They once again cross paths with Sam and it is clear to Sam and the gang that it doesn't matter who they are, the aliens plan to kill them all. Sam joins the gang and they create a small army to combat the aliens.

Writer/director Joe Cornish is very clever in the way that he takes a very simple story and gives it unsuspecting life. The film is very humorous, but also features a couple eerie jump scenes involving the aliens. The special effects for the aliens is outstanding and the beasts themselves look very menacing. The film features a catchy soundtrack by Basement Jaxx, which will have you bobbing your head while your watching the movie.

Jodi Whittaker does very good work as a nurse caught in a crazy situation. John Boyega is real discovery as Moses, it saddens me that we have not seen his face in anything since "Attack the Block," I liked him very much and I hope he goes on to have great career. (I also want to ask anybody else if they agree that John Boyega looks a lot like Denzel Washington.) The rest of the cast is very good. You will definitely recognize Nick Frost from "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," he plays a weed dealer who works with the gang. He has several funny scenes throughout the film and knocks it out of the park each time. The rest of the cast includes Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones and Simon Howard as the rest of Moses' gang. I liked that each member had a scene where they really shined. Sometimes, movies like this get boiled down to a buddy movie between the two main characters. In this film though, each gang member is given something specific to do, making the film feel more like an ensemble piece. I feel by going that route, the film is much stronger overall.

"Attack The Block" is huge fun. If you like action adventure with comedy, horror, and even a little bit of social commentary peppered in for flavor, I strongly suggest to check this one out. This movie was one of the highlights of 2011 for me, and I hope all of you reading will agree.

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