Monday, 6 June 2011

Blockbusters [Review: Attack The Block]

First a heads-up: Digging through the murky depths of YouTube a day or so ago I made a really exciting discovery which I have every intention of sharing presently. And no, it's not the Snake easter egg. Watch this space for further announcements.

We now return you to your scheduled broadcast. Attack The Block, directed by Joe Cornish, illustrates several current film trends:

The Resistible Rise Of Nick Frost: Also, when reviewing this movie, it seems comparison with Shaun of the Dead is obligatory so here goes. Attack The Block is a bit like Shaun Of The Dead in some ways.

Knife-Wielding Teenagers Are The New Mafia: I would single out Noel Clarke's films in particular for really developing this theme. Attack The Block has a similar gang setting, and there is some social commentary as the youngsters learn responsibility while the adults get their prejudices knocked about a bit, but this is not Kidulthood and most of the characters and situations are played for laughs.

Low Budget Is The New Mega Budget: Moon and Monsters proved you can do sci-fi on a shoestring, standing in a giant cat litter tray with a crew of six. Attack The Block has an understated concept: invasion on a tiny scale as aliens converge on a South London estate.

Aliens Are The New Robot Zombie Vampires: Those alien invasion movies just keep coming. Skyline, Battle Of Los Angeles, Battle: Los Angeles, Monsters, and there's more! soon Cowboys and Aliens, Super 8 and Apollo 18. And Bridesmaids. There's an interesting discussion about this trend over at io9 too. A nice touch is the way Attack The Block's monsters are minimalist or even impressionist in nature - their silhouettes are the exact opposite of Skyline's fractally detailed biomechanoids.

Return Of The Script: Also, trust your cast. Gareth Edwards' two leads improvised much of the dialogue of Monsters. For Attack The Block, the younger cast members re-wrote parts of the slang-heavy script, so the gangsters actually sound plausible* while Luke Treadaway's posh student is the one trying to fo shizzle and respek his way to unattainable street cred.

Television Is The New Film School: Mickey from Doctor Who, Moss from The IT Crowd and now Joe from Adam and Joe have all been at the helm of successful films. And good ones too. This is Joe Cornish's first feature (not counting Tufty Club) and it's a professional job: funny, fast-paced and very likeable.

*While it sounds plausible I should add that I have no idea whether this is authentic gangspeak or whether the joke is on us. Fo shizzle.

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