REVIEW: Attack The Block

The idea of aliens attacking a council estate in south London is not as out-of-this-world as it sounds (especially as Edinburgh University are now offering courses in alien-spotting…)

Directed by Joe Cornish and starring a largely newbie cast – Attack The BlockΒ is one of the best films I’ve seen all year, although technically speaking, it came out last year.

As the characters preconceptions are challenged, so are the audiences. Sacrifice, loyalty, tragedy, horror, violence and – most importantly – humour are all key parts of this film’s unlikely appeal.

Jodie Whittaker plays Sam, a young nurse who is mugged by a gang of boys, headed up by Moses (played by John Boyega). Shortly afterwards, Sam, Moses and the rest of his gang are forced to work together in order to protect their ‘block’ from alien invasion.The gang go from villains to heroes as the plot progresses, and our initial impressions of the characters shift as they reveal their true characters.

It’s the gang of boys who are the real stars of the movie – despite other cast members including Nick Frost and Luke Treadaway – and Moses is shown to be a true leader. The film’s ending is uncertain but optimistic, and a goosebump-inducing triumph.

Unsurprisingly, the film won a host of awards, including Audience Award for Best Film at SXSW 2011 and Best Debut Director 2011 at the New York Film Critics Online Awards. It’s one of those rare movies that has the power to make you laugh and cry, and despite its extra-terrestrial content, it manages to maintain an air of reality that makes its charm all the stronger.

Available on DVD.

Katie ByrneΒ 

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