Attack The Block (2011)
So the plot for this film is pretty simple. A group of London thugs are mugging a woman when a mysterious creature falls from the sky. They slaughter it (for no apparent reason other than to be violent) and parade the corpse around the streets, but unfortunately for them she was not alone and they are hunted relentless by large, furry, jet black aliens; bringing a reign of terror on the council block where they live.
I’m going to get this out there right away. The main problem I have with this wonderfully shot movie is the “heroes”. When you see the gang mugging an innocent woman and shoving her to the ground you expect them to be the first to be die; as it happens they are the films main protagonists. Living in London I can say that there are parts of it that are just like in this film, where moronic thugs bop along the street using their minimal, collaborative brain cells to play out their most basic functions. It scared me that this movie seemed to celebrate these low lives and the culture they aspire to. I actually found myself cheering for the monsters the entire way through as they claim vengeance for their fallen comrade.
Naturally the police are portrayed in a negative light, another problem I have. This film doesn’t encourage these kids to better themselves it celebrates their selfishness, greed and lack of respect for those around them. I imagine the police have their work cut out trying to keep control, and keep decent people safe without being the perpetual villains in films like this where the directors were probably coddled in a middle class upbringing and wouldn’t have the slightest clue how to survive in a place like this. Of course when we come to the end and the sob story is set up for why they are such wretches, but it just doesn’t cut it. Most of them have homes, caring relatives and plenty of friends. It does not hide the frivolity of their previous actions, but highlights their awfulness.
Now what’s good? It was certainly a pleasure watching the monsters hunt these hooligans. It was kind of an anti-film experience when I was going against convention and wished ill on those I should be championing. The monsters themselves are outstanding; a real unique look (the effects are brilliant) with a believable reason for their arrival. The flow of the story is fun and offbeat and the characters are acted well, even if most are detestable.
All in all I’m torn between the enjoyment I felt and the repulsion at the glorification of London’s low lives. There’s no doubt it’s a great movie and in many ways it was one of the best films of last year, but perhaps better enjoyed by someone who can detach from the subject matter more easily.
Video sourced from Youtube.