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.

Score: 444/666

Video sourced from Youtube.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting review Luke. I and others who I have had discussions with found it somewhat stereo typical and arguable racist. Radio 4 did a great review on it and are often bang on in my opinion and this element was discussed. I also had the same issues with them being muggers and then the heroes. I found the monsters were laughable and not really scary at times. I didn’t have much issues about the police being portrayed in a negative light as 99% of the black and Asian people I know and live amongst have negative experiences with the police, particularly the poorer black and Asian communities. This actually rang true. Nonetheless despite the above, as you say it was shot well and entertaining. Keep up the good work Luke.

    1. Luke Tutt (slappysquirrel) says:

      While its certainly stereotypical I do think sterotypes are often based on truths. I went to school with people/live in an area with people just like this so perhaps that’s why it irked me so much. I think their behavior towards the Brewis character was quite offensive as they were determined to treat him as some kind of outsider despite the fact that they are so sanctimonious about the fact that they themselves are villified. I don’t think I would have minded the portayal of the police if they had been innocent bystanders but they were guilty and the police were right to mistrust them. I don’t by the whole “self-fulfilling prophecy” stuff, they have a choice about whether or not to steal and abuse other people who, seeing as they live in the same area, are probably of a similar economic standing.

      There were so many great things about the movie so it was hard trash that aspect, but my rating reflected all the wonderful things it had to offer.

  2. GraveDave says:

    I felt the exact same way. I enjoyed the film, but despised its “heroes”. Like you, I kept hoping that they would get eaten. Perhaps with a side of fries and a drink with one of those little umbrellas in it. In that way it was much like watching Pearl Harbour, a movie so dreadful that I was vouching for the Japanese to win against the flow of history. Personally I gave it a positive review for its originality and I thought the acting was pretty good given the age of the actors, but if it wasn’t for that I would have taken a huge steamy dump on it.

    1. Luke Tutt (slappysquirrel) says:

      It’s rare that I have such mixed feeling about a film but enjoyed that aspect of it. Nothing worse than coming to the end of something and thinking “I have no opinion” (although again thats rare for me lol).

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