After what felt like a year of hearing how great this movie is, it finally made it to Boston! Hurray! Written and directed by frequent Edgar Wright-collaborator Joe Cornish, Attack the Block is a fun and tense alien invasion thriller. The twist is its protagonists: the film focuses on a group of lower-class London teenagers, a sort of wannabe gang who mug pedestrians who walk by their neighborhood and assume they’ll eventually be forcibly recruited by a local drug dealer. When hostile alien beasts invade their housing development, it’s up to them to fight them off and save their block.
This movie has such a great cast, it’s crazy. There are hilarious supporting turns from the likes of Nick Frost and Luke Treadaway, both pothead slackers holed up in an apartment with a weed fortress. The focus here is definitely on the kids, though, mostly newcomers who put in intriguing and dedicated performances. John Boyega is SO good as Moses, the hard-faced leader who acts well beyond his years because he has no other choice. This is his first film and I hope he has a long career ahead of him as a leading man (he’s easy on the eyes, too). Jodie Whittaker is a little flat as Sam, the high-strung nursing student who is initially at odds with this hostile group of “hoodlum” teens, but she grew on me as the movie progressed. Plus she wields a kitchen knife pretty damn deftly.
From the thumping soundtrack and high-speed bike chases to the gory kills and silly jokes, Attack the Block is just consistently entertaining all around. It’s got a fun script that balances comedic dialogue with heartfelt characterization, keeping it light for the most part but never allowing the audience to think any character is safe from horrific mutilation. There are definitely some plot points that don’t make too much sense (why would the males of a species want to tear apart the only female?), but it’s such a fun ride I didn’t really think about it while I was watching. I also appreciated the range of interesting weaponry and impressive creature effects, and the almost complete reliance on one location for the story. Their tenement comes off as a concrete maze with a wealth of resources and hiding spots, and Cornish really works the setting to its fullest.
And Nick Frost. Always Nick Frost.