Movie Review: Attack the Block (2011)
“Inner City vs. Outer Space”
Attack the Block (2011)
Director: Joe Cornish
Cast: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail
Synopsis: A gang of inner city teenage youths do battle with invading aliens.
I thought I’d like this film, but apart from a few bright moments it was fairly ordinary – with a highly questionable hero in the form of Moses (John Boyega), a surly black teenager who we first meet as he mugs Sam (Jodie Whittaker – Black Sea), the terrified heroine of the tale with his gang of bike-riding cohorts. After they have made their getaway, Moses bemoans their luck – she was a nurse and therefore had few coppers in her purse. The selection of such characters as nominal heroes might show off first-time director Joe Cornish’s hip credentials but it also immediately alienates a significant proportion of his audience, because that early mugging lingers in the back of your mind for the rest of the film, tempering any sympathy for or identification with the young male leads.
Moses and his gang (crew? posse? homeys? blockies? I dunno – that’s how un-hip I am) witness an alien crashing to earth and, after he’s attacked by it, Moses gives chase and duly kills it. The trouble is that the particular alien he and his mates exterminated was an on-heat female and they’re now covered in her spore which means the horny maliens keep tracking them down and, upon discovering they’re not an accommodating femalien, get rather annoyed.
As the film progresses, Moses and his surviving mates develop a sense of community borne of a siege mentality which is presumably supposed to suggest that he has turned a corner and will no longer haunt deserted streets waiting for the weak and vulnerable to unwittingly step into his arena. It doesn’t really wash, and neither do the reasons given for his being the way he is. At the end of the film Moses might be a local hero, but there’s little doubt that he’d be bagging himself a couple of free X-boxes in Tottenham a couple of months later.
(Reviewed 14th October 2011)