STARRING: Nick Frost, Jodie
Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, Flaminia Cinque, Joey Ansah, Lee Nicholas Harris,
Chris Wilson, Terry Notary, Maggie McCarthy, Jacey Sallés, Adam Leese, Sammy
Williams, Karl Collins, Jumayn Hunter, Danielle Vitalis
2011, 88 Minutes, Directed by:
sorry, but we’re just all out of Liberal Humanism here . . .
Here’s a tough sell: Attack
the Block is a movie that expects us to be sympathetic towards a gang of
hoodlums of the variety that we recently saw rampaging through the streets of
London, vandalizing and looting as they went their not-so merry way.
After all, the movie tells us,
they’re not so bad once you get to know them and give them your wallet. Besides,
they only rob people from other apartment blocks and not their own. I’m sure
that will make Asyraf Haziq, the injured Malaysian exchange student who was
famously mugged by youths pretending to help him during said riots, feel so much
better . . .
One New Year’s Eve a nurse
(Jodie Whittaker) on her way home from work is mugged by a teenaged group of
hoodies, or juvenile delinquents for you non-Brits out there. The mugging is
however interrupted by an alien creature that literally falls out of the sky.
The bunch of underage toughs pursues the scared creature and kills it. Yup,
welcome to South London . . .
And, yes, folks, the group of
muggers are indeed the movie’s “heroes”. Later on some more alien creatures fall
from the sky seeking revenge. The chances are however good that you will find
yourself rooting for them instead of the cast of rather unlikable and
interchangeable yoofs. Feel free to shout out “hard luck blood” and “innit” each
time a character gets picked off by an alien monster as one IMDb.com reviewer
Attack the Block would
like you to believe that their cast of characters are nothing but
the Goonies fallen on hard luck. But when a character
whines that the nurse’s boyfriend should rather be in London helping Britain’s
youth instead of aiding poor people in Ghana you just lose it. Maybe those same
yoofs who go on about how cack it is living in one of the world’s richest
countries should spend some time in an African refugee camp before mouthing off
Besides its unsympathetic
protagonists, Attack the Block also suffers from unintelligible Brit
accents. Viewers outside the UK would probably want to activate the English
subtitles function on their DVD players. No wonder the movie is struggling to
find distribution States-side.
On the plus side the movie is
professionally made. Acting, special effects and photography are decent. The
movie is fast-paced and never bores. Refreshingly the alien creatures don’t seem
like bog standard H.R. Giger knockoffs of the sort we have been seeing in most
sci-fi movies as of late. (Instead they seemed to be “inspired” by the
dim-witted furry creatures in Jeff Smith’s
Bone fantasy comic series, but
Attack the Block can
however never succeed in making us like its heroes or care for them. Also,
despite the presence of Shaun of the Dead’s Nick Frost
in a cameo as a stoner, the movie is never as funny as it believes itself to be.
File under “really wanted to like it, but just couldn’t.” One can just easily
imagine the crowd cheering on one of the heroes during the film’s ending dashing
off shortly afterwards to loot an electronics store . . .