Attack the Block (15)

Film

Science fiction

Attack the block

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue May 10 2011

It’s always worrying when an artist you admire in one field decides to branch out into another. Bob Dylan’s painting career, Russell Crowe’s band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, the novels of William Shatner – are all destined for the trash pile of cultural history. But on the strength of his feature debut, ‘Attack the Block’, it’s already clear that, in a decade’s time, no one will even remember that Joe Cornish used to be a comedian.

At first glance, it looks as though Cornish has set the bar low for his first movie. A storyline inspired by the ’80s genre movies he grew up with (and lovingly parodied on ‘The Adam and Joe Show’), tied to a currently popular film fad – the London yoof movie – and set literally on his doorstep, ‘Attack the Block’ could easily have been a lazy, smug sci-fi parody: ‘Morons from Outer Space’ goes gangsta.

But, like the aliens that rampage through a Brixton tower block, this is an entirely unexpected beast. An unrecognisably well-spoken Jodie Whittaker plays Sam, the jobbing nurse whose decision to move into a south London estate backfires when she’s first mugged by teen thugs, then chased by marauding monsters. But Whittaker, and comic relief Nick Frost as weed dealer Ron, are merely the audience-friendly commercial face of ‘Attack the Block’. The real stars are those thugs, led by taciturn wannabe player Moses (John Boyega, stunning), whose decision to tool up and defend their turf kicks the plot into high gear.

And this is an astonishingly fast-moving film. Cornish doesn’t do eerie build-ups or character-establishing dialogue scenes: it’s pedal to the metal from the word go, and we learn on the hoof about Moses’s family issues, Ron’s business troubles and the complex relationships within the gang. This can make the opening scenes confusing: there are a lot of characters to keep up with. But it pays off in pure adrenaline: we’re never given a second to settle, and the result is exhilarating. Gradually characters emerge, and it’s here that Cornish’s skill as writer and director becomes evident. These kids start out as caricatures – the moody leader, the speccy geek, the mouth – but the respect shown to them is hugely refreshing, and their progressions are heartfelt and wholly believable: Shane Meadows would be proud.

All of which elevates ‘Attack the Block’ from fun creature-feature throwback to this year’s unmissable British movie, and Cornish from just another geek-turned-filmmaker to a major talent: if he can strike a similar balance between sympathy, insight and crowd-pleasing thrills in future projects, his status is assured.

‘Attack the Block’ isn’t perfect – the aliens are a tad unremarkable and the final blowout never hits the frenzied peak it might have – but it’s hard to imagine British audiences having more fun in a cinema this year. Now, who’s going to fund the Adam Buxton movie?

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Wed May 11, 2011

Duration:

88 mins

Cinemas showing Attack the Block

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BFI Southbank

Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XT Show map/details

  • Address:

    BFI Southbank Belvedere Rd
    London
    SE1 8XT

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  • Sun Dec 21:

    • 18:30
  • Tue Dec 30:

    • 18:10

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:9
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:6
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|37
2 people listening
John Cooper

As one would expect, Tom Huddleston  gets it wrong  and overrates this movie . . . The problem with this

film is that it panders to  trendy left-wing politics  whereby  a teenage thug is transformed into a knight in shining armour  after taking on alien invaders.  These alien invaders reminded me of Dennis the Menace's dog

Gnasher ( In the Beano) .   . . . and its this comic book humour which is one of the more successful elements in the movie.

What is less appealing is its simplistic take on inner city problems and its facile attempts to ingratiate itself

with a teenage audience who will impressed by the script's command of  urban verncular and street slang.

That said, the film has energy and pace, and anyone who has been to a South London `sink` school will

recognise the characters, especially the putative anti-hero Moses,  who  begins the film as a unconscienablemugger and ends it as an alien-slaying hero. 

John Cooper

As one would expect, Tom Huddleston  gets it wrong  and overrates this movie . . . The problem with this

film is that it panders to  trendy left-wing politics  whereby  a teenage thug is transformed into a knight in shining armour  after taking on alien invaders.  These alien invaders reminded me on Dennis the Menace's dog

Gnasher .   . . . and its this comic book humour which is one of the more successful elements in the movie.

What is less appealing is its simplistic take on inner city problems and its facile attempts to ingratiate itself

with a teenage audience who will impressed by the script's command of  urban verncular and street slang.

That said, the film has energy and pace, and anyone who has been to a South London `sink` school will

recognise the characters, especially the putative anti-hero Moses,  who  begins the film as a unconscienable

mugger and ends it as an alien-slaying hero. 

Not-a-gangsta

The only thing funny about Nick Frost is Simon Pegg. The acting in this movie really is dreadful. I guess that is funny in a meta sort of way. No appeal at all to anyone outside of the UK. Garbage

Danny

As a non-film buff I found this film very enjoyable, entertaining and at the end uplifting. On the money. I'm not from Souf London so no loyalty there, a middle class ordinary citizen from the Portsmouth Bronx! Point being, I think will appeal to a wide audience

MoviGeekBlog.com

It’s hard to know what the target audience for this film is supposed to be. The Horror fans would have seen it all before, the US kids will be put off by the accents, the snobby/arty elite will certainly find it all a bit too silly to care about its message, but I must confess, I came to it with very few expectations and even though it took me way too long to get into it (it's hard to care or sympathise with kids who in the beginning are shown assaulting and mugging people), once I was finally with it, I actually found it all rather enjoyable for the its slightly trashy fake-B-movie sensibility (but a lot more clever than it claims it is), its mix of horror and humour (though not incredibly funny, nor too scary) and its retro-80s sensibility and in the end I was happy I saw it, though I'm not as enthusiastic as this Time Out reviewer MY FULL REVIEW on my BLOG wp.me/p19wJ2-o2

MH

I think this may be the most fun film so far this year.

JJP

HUDDLESTON'S REVIEW BEGAN WITH A 2-PARAGRAPH SHOW-OFF OF HIS RESEARCH (BORING!) HAVING NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MOVIE; I THINK THE FILM ITSELF IS FAR MORE INTERESTING THAN PEOPLE HAVE SAID.

JJP

HUDDLESTON'S REVIEW BEGAN WITH A 2-PARAGRAPH SHOW-OFF OF HIS RESEARCH (BORING!) HAVING NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MOVIE; I THINK THE FILM ITSELF IS FAR MORE INTERESTING THAN PEOPLE HAVE SAID.

Jan

I did not find the film scary, I found the morals strange, the characters flat. Did not get it at all to be honest. Not a film for a broad international audience, not at all.

nathan

best line of the film "right now, i just wanna go home, lock the door, and play some fifa"

nathan

best line of the film "right now, i just wanna go home, lock the door, and play some fifa"

Di

I'm an "old lady" and I thought this film was brilliant. Lots of social comment and funny as well.

Phil Ince

Good to see a good cast of young, black British actors in a 'mainstream' film but the production is just a bit too TV movie just a bit too often. Essentially, it's an episode of Doctor Who with no star and a 15 certificate.

disappointed filmgoer

I was really looking forward to this film, as I'd been a fan of the Adam and Joe Show years ago, and it's had great reviews, but I really found the central characters hard to sympathise with. They basically kill an alien life form, just because they don't like the look of it, and then we're supposed to care if they get eaten themselves? Sorry, but I didn't. I'd have happily seen them all devoured. And the aliens were actually quite cute and fluffy. Some of it was entertaining, but I was basically unmoved.

andy

Not brilliant,but not bad.Not on par with James Cameron but then it is not really meant to be.Plenty of action but it did lack tension,but I don't think that really mattered that much because it was quite a character driven movie.It set up the stereotypes and then slowly deconstructs them when you start to get to know the kids and what motivates them.The begining of the film was inspired by Joe Cornish getting mugged practically on his doorstep and then talking to kids in his area to find out what motivated some of them to mug people in the first place.So you can tell he has sympathy for his characters.Like I said though if you don't go expecting an Aliens or Predator type film,rather a mildly amusing British caper movie with aliens thrown in then most people will find it entertaining enough.

Ms Domestica

Hilarious. And not (despite some of the other contents) not 2 dimensional nor without moral content. The characters grow as plot unfolds, some meet sticky ends, granted, but the yoof get to take their hoodies off and they get to see beyond their own prejudices and all the while a very Kung-Fu David Carradine kind of message is being drummed out: you reap what you sew, And I loved the low budget effects. Bring it on.

Jo

Am afraid I disagree with Nick – it isn't just for the very young who have hardly seen any films (so therefore, I'm guessing Nick, don't know better). It's great fun and there's plenty of positive stuff to say about it. Impressive performances and great dialogue which pretty much any Londoner will appreciate. Brilliant fun!

Jo

Am afraid I disagree with Nick – it isn't just for the very young who have hardly seen any films (so therefore, I'm guessing Nick, don't know better). It's great fun and there's plenty of positive stuff to say about it. Impressive performances and great dialogue which pretty much any Londoner will appreciate. Brilliant fun!

gretchin

if you are a fan of adam and joe and spaced, you will clearly spot all of the parodies in this film and be able to take it with a pinch of salt. I thought it was really funny with a properly stupid plot. If you live or know brixton or kings cross well, it's always exiting to see your home turf on the big screen.

gretchin

if you are a fan of adam and joe and spaced, you will clearly spot all of the parodies in this film and be able to take it with a pinch of salt. I thought it was really funny with a properly stupid plot. If you live or know brixton or kings cross well, it's always exiting to see your home turf on the big screen.

Cornish

This is like a bad 'Home Alone' type of move using 'hoodie yoofs' to make it look relevant. Ya get me blud?

Nick

I think whether you enjoy this film depends very much on your age and the number of other films you have seem to compare it against. I am really sorry but I cant think of anything positive to say about it.

Jo

Great actors. Poor plot. Seriously dreadful dialogue. God knows what Nick Frost thought he was doing. Total lack of morality. I think I enjoyed it albeit for the wrong reasons. Avoid

Skimble

I really enjoyed "Attack the Block", Despite the unpleasantness of the characters' initial actions they eventually become realised as fully 3-dimensional characters that one feels affection for regardless. This film sets out to show that the hoody-wearing teenagers that people cross the street to avoid are more than faceless spectres to be feared. This country appears to be set on demonising 'yoof' at the present time and that trend is written all over the film. I enjoyed little flourishes like Pest removing his hat midway through the film and suddenly becoming a real person who looks like any other teenager you might see about, the revelation that Moses is only 15 but "looks older". I do agree that this seems likely to be a love it or loathe it sort of film, but I'm certainly among those who loved it.

DV

Are you people on the take??? Well observed? Masterpiece?!!! Come on!! I wouldn't normally post a follow-up, but this film is truly awful.

Martin

A pleasant enough way to spend an hour and a bit. Not the finished article but full of promise. If the dialogue was as good as the filming, it would be a masterpiece. I could be wrong but somehow the 'street' language did not sound at all natural from some of the younger cast. Are they from Pimlico not Peckham?? Moses who says very little is an exception & is a class act.

Evie

8.5+/10 Brilliantly well observed writing and filmed with heaps of panache. Enjoyed the natural charismatic performances from the young cast.

DV

I've noticed Tom Huddleston, the TO reviewer here, getting stick before for his opinions, and often thought others' comments harsh, but Tom, 'this year’s unmissable British movie' and 'it’s hard to imagine British audiences having more fun in a cinema this year': what the hell are you on?! I suspect that you derive some sort of perverted pleasure from misinforming TO readers, and luring them into watching utter dross. This is one awful movie. I was expecting some sort of depth, irony and self-awareness from Joe Cornish, but the characters are cliches, and the dialogue is abominable. Not even a glimmer of wit, and no real plot. Avoid.

Kristian

there is no way it deserves one star there has some been some appalling films. I'd highly recommend it. Well i thought it was one of the best films of the year, refreshing to see an original concept,

Kristian

there is no way it deserves one star there has some been some appalling films. I'd highly recommend it. Well i thought it was one of the best films of the year, refreshing to see an original concept,

Rob

It's pretty good, even if the lingo is hard to understand. There are some funny moments, despite what other reviewers have said, and the pacing is pretty good so it never boring. I suspect this will be a 'marmite' film, with just as many lovers as haters.

Dan

Attack the Block isn't funny or scary. It has no likable characters and doesn't engage the audience emotionally. It wasn't entertaining and felt overlong even though its running time is less than 90 minutes. The monsters were laughably poor. Definitely a film to avoid.

scrumpyjack

Ed "ain't even lyin'"! Unless you find hoodies babbling on in their tedious lingo and big Nashers (the beano dog) hilarious, avoid. The mass delusion of critics film of the month. 5/10 - you get me?!

Ed

From the opening scene when our hoodie 'heroes' mug a woman at knifepoint this film just never finds it's feet with really unsympathetic characters. A tedious linear chase movie in which there are no stakes, story boundaries or well thought out plot. Have these people ever watched Assault on Precinct 13, The Goonies, The Thing? Don't believe the manufactured hype from Joe Cornish's media buddies. Massively disappointing.