Review: Attack the Block

Director: Joe Cornish

Starring: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Nick Frost

Released: 13/05/2011

Rating: 15

 

What do you get when you take the urban gritty London of Kidulthood, and cross it with everything that’s great about the alien invasion genre? The answer is Attack the Block.

 
Opening onto a south London council estate, a group of hoodie wearing, knife wielding teenagers set about mugging a defenceless young woman (Jodie Whittaker), only to be stopped dead in their tracks when a strange alien creature drops out of the sky right in front of them. Acting the only way they know how, the kids decide to “kill that motherf***er stone dead doe blood innit.” and make quick work of the creature.

 

The problem is though: this one’s a female. There are 1000’s of much bigger, much meaner males landing all over the estate, and now Moses (Boyega) and his crew must unite with the woman they mugged to save not only the estate but the whole world.

 
It’s a great concept, and one which really plays out well. Showing both sides of the council estate kids – not just their issues, but the reasons behind them, the characters are well formed, and it really feels like all the actors involved – especially Boyega  – are able to really get inside the heads of the characters, bringing them to life where they could easily have become overly stereotypical and two dimensional.

 
At its heart this film is careful never to take itself too seriously. It realises that the situation it sets up is beyond ridiculous, and instead of trying to sort this out (which would inevitably have convoluted matters further), they just kind of roll with the punches and laugh along with everyone else. And you will laugh – repeatedly.

 
Pitching in all directions – to sci-fi fans, to fans of films like Kidulthood and Adulthood, and even to people who can relate to the council house kids in the film – it feels certain this will find an audience, and it’s fair to say it really deserves too.

 

This film feels original, fresh, and at just 88minutes it’s thrillingly fast paced. You’ll be on the edge of your seat from the first minute right through to the film’s explosive final moments.

 

What do you get when you cross Kidulthood and an alien invasion movie then? Put simply: one of the best British films of the year so far.

 

James Gordon