Movie Review: Attack the Block (2011)

Title: Attack the Block
Release Date: 11 May 2011
Director: Joe Cornish
Production Company: StudioCanal Features | Film4 | UK Film Council | Big Talk Pictures

The film begins with a teenage street gang in a South London council estate mugging Samantha Adams (Jodie Whittaker), a nurse in training.  Before the crime is even complete, a nearby car explodes in a fireball.  The boys discover that it has been hit by something containing an alien lifeform.  The gang’s leader Moses (John Boyega) determines that he will kill the creature to defend their community.  Thus begins 80 minutes of non-stop action with healthy doses of comedy and horror as they are hunted and then hunt a pack of sharp-toothed alien beasts.  The boys join forces with Samantha, the local drug dealer (Nick Frost), one of his stoned customers (Luke Treadaway), and others to defend themselves.

In addition to the alien threat, Moses and his crew also have to face down the police who are more intent on busting Black children than recognizing the extraterrestrial threat.  It’s a daring move to start the movie by showing its main characters as unsympathetically as possible and then develop the characters so well that the audience is cheering for them by the end The movie has a suitably low-budget feel, maybe even more of a tv movie.  Because of the presence of Whittaker and aliens it also feels like it could’ve been spun off from Doctor Who.

Rating: ***