Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: Attack The Block

I lucked out last week and got in to a private screening of British indie flick, Attack The Block. ATB follows five young inner-city kids and the woman they rob as they fight to protect their South London neighborhood from aliens. It turns into a wild adventure that showcases a top cast of aliens and humans. This is brought to us from the awesome producers of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Since it has premiered, ATB has been featured at SXSW and won the Midnight Screening Audience Award.

The moment the movie starts, you can tell it's an indie flick and that sets the tone of the film. I really enjoyed this film because of its raw feeling. It wasn't as polished like mainstream movies, which adds to its charm and believability. It reminded me of District 9, and the underlying social commentary.  When I was walking into this film, I expected a funny alien/horror flick. While the film delivered on everything I expected, it gave so much more. This is really a tale of how we label the inner-city kids, when really they can be so much more. This film shares that through a lot of dialogue at the beginning. At first, I was a little put off by the lack of continuous action. Then, as I start to really root for the characters, the look that you get at their everyday life is compelling. You could re-cut this film without aliens and it would still be interesting because of the character development. In actuality, I think that if this were really to happen, this might be exactly how it goes down.

This is a fantastic cast but the true highlight is John Boyega as Moses. This is a character that starts the movie so cold and unfeeling. As the story progresses, we begin to see him as a strong leader and protector. Finally, when a traumatic twist happens and Moses finally opens up, we see his soul and the deep talents of Boyega are truly shown. This is such a strong performance and Boyega anchors the cast.

One of the major points of believability (yes, this is a real word. My phone's spell check approved it.) is the aliens. These aliens are so simple that they could be real. They don't appear to be computer generated, which helps a lot. I miss the days of alien puppets ripping your leg off and ATB brings it back in a classy way.

One of my problems with this movie was the accents. While I'm used to the TV-perfect British accent, the fast-talking, slang-filled South London accent was hard to follow at times. Overall, it didn't affect how I understood the plot, it just slowed me down a bit. With the worldwide push of this film, I'm sure I won't be the only person with this problem. My other problem is more of a wish; that they had used Nick Frost more. In actuality, his character really didn't need more screen time, I just like him.

Now, there is a call to action with this review.  Attack The Block has a very limited release in the US. If you want to see it, check their website for a theater listing. If you don't have one near you, take to the streets! And by streets, I mean twitter. Reach out to @ATBMovie or their facebook page and encourage them to come your way. Trust me, they want to show their movie off but they need a reason to come. Go online now and give them a reason!

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