[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B005ZCAZ3A][/pullquote] Like many gritty, urban dramas, Attack the Block begins with a terrifying vision of the society in which we live. A scared women, walking along a deserted London street alone, when she runs into a group of youths who surround and mug her for a small number of valuables. This is a common image conjured up by tabloids in recent years to inform us that the youth of today are to be feared because they have no regard for law and order. What takes you unawares is the sudden and shocking arrival of a meteor from space crash landing into the scene and catapulting the action into the sci-fi and horror genre.
Like a cross between John Carpenter’s The Thing and Ridley Scott’s Alien, Attack the Block treats each scene like an opportunity to crank up the tension. The film however isn’t afraid to make its main characters thoroughly unlikeable from the get go. They’re rude, confrontational and all talk in quick-fire slang that is difficult to understand. It is a wonder then that by the end you not only understand them, but are rooting for them. The little breaks in tension are helped with some hearty laughs courtesy of Nick Frost and motor-mouthed gang member, Pest (Alex Esmail), but the real breakout performer sits at the centre of the action like a stoic modern-day knight.
Moses (debutant John Boyega) is the heart of Attack the Block. At first silent and intimidating, he is the natural leader of the group desperately trying to survive. He starts the film as a terrifying vision of everything that we fear in modern society. Leader of a gang of youths, face covered and knife in hand looking to steal, intimidate and bully his way to success within the hierarchy of ˜the block.’ What is surprising is that by the end he is running in slow-motion, dodging monsters and explosions like an action hero twice his age. What’s even more surprising is that we as an audience totally buy into this character evolution. It’s quite the feat from first-time director Joe Cornish.
Probably most famous for being one half of Adam and Joe with his long-time colleague Adam Buxton, Joe Cornish has had a diverse and interesting career to date. From TV sketch shows to radio broadcasts, the pair have successfully worked together for years. However ever since Cornish helped on the Ant-Man script with Edgar Wright and The Adventures of Tintin Script for Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, he has seen his stock rise dramatically and with help from the UK Film Council has finally got Attack the Block, his debut picture made and distributed. The ease with which he captures all the sci-fi and horror film clichÃ©s, whilst keeping the action fresh, fast-paced and exciting speaks volumes for his obvious talent.