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Attack The Block (2011)
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Creature violence, Drug content, and pervasive language
Action, Science Fiction
John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Jodie Whittaker, Simon Howard, Luke Treadaway, Nick Frost
Attack The Block (2011)
From the producers of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, ATTACK THE BLOCK follows a gang of tough inner-city kids who try to defend their turf against an invasion of savage alien creatures, turning a South London apartment complex into an extraterrestrial warzone.
Attack The Block (2011) | Review
Moses Rescues The People
Because I discovered the film early on at SXSW, I've written more about Attack The Block than any other film I can recall. You can see my past write-ups from South By Southwest here and here. I even wrote up a love letter to the film and its makers on my personal blog, which you can see here. I also have an interview with director Joe Cornish and star John Boyega that I plan to publish as soon as I get it transcribed.
So I love this film. You get that. But based on the boxoffice take for the film, most of the world has yet to discover Attack the Block. I highly encourage you to rent or buy this film here upon its home video release.
Why is this film so great? Well, I want to discuss some of the deeper elements of what, in the end, is a movie about a London teen gang killing aliens from outer space. Imagine that far-out premise, and infuse it with as much real-world relevance and social commentary as possible, and you've got the year's best genre film.
First of all, the gang. Director Joe Cornish went out of his way to cast the real deal, kids that felt totally at home playing South London street kids. But all the great acting aside, the journey of these London "youths" is what makes the film. Moses (John Boyega) and his gang start out the film as a masked gang, robbing an innocent young woman. These types of gangs are a real threat in modern London and the "hoodies" are widely frowned upon in British society. Attack the Block meets these young people in their real world, unleashes sci-fi aliens upon them, and allows these teens to step up and show the world who they really are. In a sci-fi action comedy, Director Joe Cornish manages to deeply impact the viewers' presuppositions about teenagers today.
As an eight-year veteran of full-time youth ministry, this movie genuinely affects me each time I see it. Sure, the teens are pot-smoking muggers. No, I wouldn't want to meet them in a dark alley. But yes, they do have the undeniable capacity for heroism, sacrifice, and goodness. Attack The Block makes me love teenagers more than ever. And it gives viewers a chance to reevaluate their opinions about the teenage generation. If you know anyone in real life who is like Clint Eastwood's character in Gran Torino, grumpy and pessimistic about the youth of today, show them Attack the Block. This is a film that confronts the real problem of youth complacency and violence, but also makes viewers' hearts swell with pride as the tough hoodies we've come to love rise up in the face of danger and protect their home, their block.
Beyond the gang as a whole, you have the central hero, Moses. From what I understand, Spike Lee has already cast John Boyega in his next film based solely on his lead performance here in Attack the Block. Boyega is an inspiring young action hero in this movie, and his journey is flawlessly executed. Moses is the leader of the gang. He is physically imposing, but also a strong silent type. As the film plays out, we learn why he has made some of the bad choices that he has.
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