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Friday, December 2, 2011

Attack the Block

Movie info
A teen gang in South London defends their block from an alien invasion.

Writer/director Joe Cornish has young wannabe gangstas battling aliens in a hilarious, action-packed combination of monster movie and underclass teenage story. Trust!

It's Guy Fawkes Night, the annual English commemoration of the failed 1605 Gunpowder Plot. Amid the fireworks, alien pods unexpectedly crash in and around a block of South London flats.

Sam, (Jodie Whittaker) is walking home after a late nursing shift and gets mugged by a group of teenagers, headed by Moses (John Boyega). The boys are about to loot a wrecked car and discover a vicious alien creature inside. Moses kills it and soon many 'big alien gorilla monsters' with luminous blue teeth are targeting them, along with Five O and gangsta drug-dealer Hi-Hatz (Jamayn Hunter), Sam is forced to trust and join forces with the 'bruvs' and a kind of chivalry evolves.

Cornish elevates the movie above B-grade creature feature not just by the innovative weaponry used by the kids (including various forms of fireworks and a water-blaster filled with petrol), but most importantly by focusing on the characters. They are defined by their oppressive urban environment, but they transcend it as bruvvers in arms.

Specifically, Moses emerges as a selfless hero and you feel for him — just a kid from a dysfunctional family forced to develop beyond his years.

Other characters colour the movie well, including Ron (Nick Frost), a slovenly drug dealer, whose reinforced 'weed room' provides a kind of fortress against the aliens.

This movie hardly needs furry monsters. It holds up very well as a study in modern, underprivileged kids' lives, laced with memorable lines like:

Ron: "You discovered a species hitherto unknown to science, possibly extra-terrestrial in nature, and you kicked its head in".

Jerome (Leeon Jones): "This is too much madness to fit into one text!"

Allow it.

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