Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Attack the Block

Attack the Block
Starring:
Jodie Whitaker, John Boyega and Nick Frost


Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 29, 2011 Released by: Screen Gems

Alien-invasion-in-the-hood British thriller from Shaun of the Dead producers definitely makes for some passable late-night viewing.
 
A fairly suspenseful Attack The Block is a well-paced, often lurid adventure with an improvisational feel to what elicits chuckles even while you're listening to the heavy slang (no subtitles) of some excitable folks.
 
For all of grimness unfolding in South London starting on a pyrotechnic celebratory Guy Fawkes night, intrepidness and bravado go hand in hand after graduating nurse Sam (Jodie Whittaker of Venus) is mugged by young black Moses (John Boyega). Moses, in turn, gets rattled and startled by a smaller simian presence apparently descending from a meteor shower during the festivities.
 
Tyro helmer and scribe Joe Cornish effectively immerses the onlooker into a colorful, chaotic brew, grounded in wit, a little conspiracy theory, and everyday life in the face of a not so clear, but present danger with less downtime than might be expected.
 
Maybe Nick Frost (Paul and, again, Shaun of the Dead) is the most recognizable face for audiences on the left side of the Atlantic as drug-dealer Ron whom Moses and his hyper buddies hole up with at his 19th floor flat. Moses begins to notice the consequences of an early homicidal act out on a mission after parents are kept in the dark so the invaders can be hunted down. But, now the creatures have increased in numbers, an ape/wolf hybrid with glow-in-the-dark teeth that are a formidable adversary.
 
The comedy pops up during and around some unexpected bursts as Cornish doesn't rely much on special effects for the shadowy antagonists that keep Moses, an impressively charismatic Boyega, and a sensible Sam, a decent Whittaker, as well as the rest of a diverse group dynamic (including a stoner, connected to a crime syndicate) on their toes.
 
Those looking for crisp narrative convolutions and character insights won't be rewarded as much as the cultural relativism of such inner-city intensity. Attack The Block simmers in a similar, albeit smaller-scaled urban conflict to Battle: Los Angeles, but has an insightful gritty, visceral humanistic approach which will prove a bit unnerving. Yet, in its minimalism it offers more thrilling jolts akin to the more mainstream, vibrantly old-fashioned Super 8.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Attack the Block        B+                  B+ 

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