AccessReel Reviews – Attack the Block

AccessReel Reviews – Attack the Block

When a failed mugging results in the death of a mysterious creature, a gang of South London teens and their drug dealer must defend their block from an alien invasion. A true English tongue-in-cheek comedy. Attack the Block marks the feature film debut of Joe Cornish, star and writer of English comedy series The Adam and Joe Show.

Joe Cornish brings his first feature film to the screens with ‘Attack the Block’, a film also written be him and produced with a budget of approximately $13 million. ‘Attack the Block’ is an achievement in minimalist filmmaking, while the low production budget does shine through at various parts of the film, it rarely suffers for it.

Despite the budgetary constraints the creature effects were very effective, relying more on ambiguity and imagination over visual effects in no way hindered the film, the small number of sets with which the film makers utilise across a number of scenes does provide for a limited scope, however it also allows the film to focus on effective story telling within a confined space forcing the film to rely upon the characters driving the film.

With Nick Frost taking a minor, the focus here is on the group of lesser known actors taking centre stage, and the young group deliver a great performance taking on the role of London street thugs with their own dialect of english, dressed with rebellious street appeal, this group of actors walk the fine line between a streetwise thug mentality and scared kids banning together for survival.

To the films credit with good character development and an underlying boyish charm in the performances from the actors, Cornish manages to take his group of central characters and start them off in one of the most unlikeable of places at the beginning of the film, and then over the course of events of the film uses their own sense of adventure, and loyalty to each other to alter the viewers perception of them, potentially bringing the audience to connect with them on some level leading to a somewhat straight forward but not unimportant social commentary on treating books by their covers.

Against a backdrop of an alien invasion in this low income part of London, ‘Attack the Block’ carry’s itself with an underlying black comedic sense of humour, helped along with the sharp dialogue and entertaining delivery by its actors, with a twist of tension  and some deaths for good measure the film ensures the audience knows that not all the characters are safe given the events around them.

The score of the film is perfectly blended in with the setting, including a mixture of techno, hip-hop and funk the music lends itself to the urban surroundings and evolves into a grander scale theme to match some of the more fantastical elements of the film.

With a minimal budget ‘Attack the Bock’ delivers an entertaining and enjoyable film, with great use of a ‘less is more’ style, the film delivers an enjoyable urban/sci-fi adventure with unlikeable characters who can’t help but to win you over, and a dark sense of humour underpinning the story.

I’m giving it 3.5 stars, it’s released in cinemas around Australia from Thursday 1 December 2011.