Upon hearing about “Attack the Block”, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I didn’t really know much about it; somehow it had escaped my radar. But I did do some research and learned some very refreshing facts about the film, which quickly soothed my skepticism. Edgar Wright had been involved with the production, as well as Nick Frost. I’ve been a fan of both for a long time now, but the director I was still unsure of, as he hadn’t really proven himself; this happens to be his first feature film…and it’s not a bad start, at all. With hilarious dialogue and plenty of great, action packed set pieces, Cornish has really started off with a bang.
Aliens have landed. This time, however, they are met by a group of miscreant teenagers armed with bats, fireworks and plenty of other random items in their arsenal, rather than the military. Let’s not get ahead of things, though. Before the action takes off, it begins with some activity one wouldn’t really expect from their protagonist: a mugging. Led by their quiet, serious leader, Moses, who’s played excellently by John Boyega, they confront a woman walking home, named Sam, who is played by Jodie Whittaker, who is the unfortunate victim of the mugging. Suddenly, something crashes violently into a car nearby, which bursts into flames. You can guess what it is. Unfortunately for the alien, it happens to be in the presence of a gang of teenagers whose guts and nerve far exceed that of the average teen. Luckily for Sam, though, she’s able to escape. As you can probably guess, this is not the only alien to show up–not by a long shot. Of course, this won’t be the last time Sam and the gang are going to meet.
Like Edgar Wright and Co., Cornish does many clever things with the photography, editing and music. It all blends together wonderfully. He takes advantage of the environment and the fireworks and chaos going on all around South London. There are some really great shots consisting of smoke, fireworks and the aliens, which are pitch black with glowing blue eyes. The soundtrack and images are what give “Attack the Block” its science-fiction/horror feeling, which blends firework smoke and retro electronic beats. Though one of the huge surprises in the film is John Boyega. Cornish works exceedingly well well with the actors, who give off the frustrating confidence of a teenager flawlessly. All of this is brought together with a strong sense of humor, largely consisting of idle banter and slang.
>But in the end, Cornish manages to bring sympathy and understanding to this characters. In one very strong scene where Sam is inside of Moses’ apartment, you can already get a sense of how young these kids really are. That singlehandedly made me feel for these characters, who, at first, seem simply like miscreants causing trouble. There’s a strong sense of theme that makes the film, which is that our actions have consequence. Not a unique theme perhaps, but a valid one, and a resonating one nonetheless. Cornish is definitely a promising director, who has delivered a film that will likely keep everyone happy.