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Attack the Block

Inner City vs. Outer Space 

Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Joe Cornish 
Starring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Nick Frost  
An image from Attack the Block

For Pest, Dennis, Jerome, Biggz and Moses (Boyega), mugging nurse Sam (Whittaker) on her way home is nothing extraordinary. What is, however, is the meteor that crashes right next to them, revealing itself to be an alien which attacks the gang. Quickly dispatching it, the group believes it was just a one-off, and their discovery might make them some cash. But it’s not that simple. More aliens land, and as no-one else knows the truth or wants to believe them, it’s up to the gang to take on these new intruders and protect their turf. As the meanest, baddest South London has to offer takes on some of the galaxy’s meanest and baddest, who will come out on top?

Attack The Block is the directorial debut of Joe Cornish, a long-time working partner of Edgar Wright. The influence shows; the film moves fast, yet is also hilarious. The idea of a gang of what amounts to chavs stepping up to save South London from an alien invasion at first may seem stupid, but after watching the film, you wonder why no-one has done it before. That the film is really well-crafted by Cornish is also a big plus; it really makes you feel like the events that are happening in this single tower block and the surrounding area will have much farther reaching consequences.

The acting is also good, with the younger cast members shining and Boyega as Moses really feels like a potential killer, but also someone who, had his life been different, could have actually made something of himself. Frost shines in his appearance as the gang’s drug dealer, playing what amounts to a stoned version of Ed from Shaun of the Dead, and Whittaker feels well-cast as Sam, the nurse who must eventually work with her former tormentors if they’re to survive.

Overall, Attack The Block shines as an original, funny, British scifi-comedy, one that proves that we can do it just as well as the Americans.

Thomas Freeman

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Autumn Term (35mm)