Attack the Block (2011)

Attack the Block doesn’t offer much new to the alien invasion genre, but somehow it manages to chop things up and remix them in a way that feels fairly fresh. The movie centers around a gang of tough-talking teens living in a rough London borough. When mysterious extra-terrestrial monsters invade their “block” (which, in this case, means their apartment complex), the gang takes matters into their own hands in hopes of defending their turf.

First-time director Joe Cornish brings great style to this movie. It has a high-contrast kind of colour scheme, and the use of blues and other bright swatches of colour really make the film (which is set entirely at night) pop. The monsters even manage to be stylish, and the whole film has a very young, heightened look to it.

The opening couple scenes of Attack the Block made me think that Cornish was going to favour style and mayhem over an actual story, but he actually did a great job of developing characters with little fuss. As the film progressed, I became more and more engrossed in the relationships and the story. The film progresses in a very natural, smooth way, and, wisely, it never slows down to give extensive backstory on the characters.

In terms of acting, there are definitely some unconvincing moments, but in general, the young cast does a good job. The standout actor for me was Luke Treadaway (who, to be fair, does have considerably more acting experience than most of the others). He’s very charming as the collegiate pothead, Brewis, who unsuspectingly gets ensnared in the adventure. Treadaway makes the best of his small role and provides many of the film’s funniest moments. Also good is John Boyega, who presents a steely front as the gang’s anti-heroic leader, Moses.

Attack the Block won’t provoke any deep thought, but it’s definitely a fun ride for 90 minutes. It knows exactly what type of movie it wants to be. It not only succeeds as an alien invasion flick, but it also presents interesting characters and plenty of humour.

7/10

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