*After the hustle of PAX Prime had calmed down, I decided to go see a movie not many of my friends were aware of: Attack the Block. Sorry, spoilers. You have been warned.
When Americans picture London they get visions of grandeur. Royal weddings. Union Jacks. Big Ben. A city with hundreds of years of history. The urban eccentricities of characters of Attack the Block is not exactly the imagery most are accustomed to when it comes to London, but it is very much apart of London just like the castle and the crown jewels.Taking place in South London, in the first few minutes of Attack the Block a group of teenagers mug a nurse at knife point as she is on her way home. This gang becomes the anti-heros of this story: misunderstood and seemingly bored youths who aim to protect their block from aliens. Biggz, Jerome, Pest, Dennis, and their silent leader, Moses, each have their own personalities that come across perfect on the screen which is, obviously, one of the key pros about the movie.
Somewhat likened to an urbanized, British Super 8, Attack the Block‘s characters and the portrayal by the cast is what helps to move the rather simple story along. It is difficult to believe that we were not watching the teenage cast be their selves on the screen as their performances were that believable. John Boyega (Moses) was the most impressive actor. In the lead role, Boyega is the strong and mostly silent leader of the gang and also the catalyst for the impending doom that is the “big gorilla wolf motherfuckers”, the aliens. Charged by emotions and the strong desire to protect, it’s nearly easy to forget that Moses is actually criminal and the reason all of this is happening.
His faithful gang of misfits offer plenty of comic relief to gain chuckles out of audiences and are a perfect juxtaposition to Moses’ character. Hilarious one-liners litter the script, delivered by the actors with perfect accuracy and realism. Geeky references to video games such as Gears of War and FIFA let us know that these kids aren’t really in that much need to be mugging victims in the street. When they each meet their demise (or not. It’s up to you to watch to find out who makes it), its grueling.
From Left to Right: Leeon Jones (Jerome), Simon Howard (Biggz), John Boyega (Moses), Alex Esmail (Pest), and Franz Drameh (Dennis)
But what is an alien movie review without mention of the aliens. There are two types of aliens in the film: one being a very ugly, hairless female and the others being large beasts covered in black fur with glowing teeth. I am sure you can guess that the latter are the ones to worry about. They’re vicious. They’re mean. They’re out for blood. But, they seem a little slow. The way the humans can just run away from them a majority of the time makes them a less scary. Although they do tear into quite a bit of people in the film, it just felt like these aliens were not really a danger to anyone. Of course they movie answers as to way the action is centered around Moses and his wily crew, but it would have been better to sense that all of South London -or even the world – was in danger from this aliens than just a few humans.
This movie also sounds good. Basement Jaxx, a house music duo who hail from South London, provides the musical score and it is phenomenal. It fits the film perfectly.
Attack the Block is a fun, streetwise movie. With its witty one-liners, British slang, believable characters, and easy to follow story, it is certainly worth checking out just to get a breather from a movie scene saturated with not-so-original films.