Monday, 9 May 2011

Attack The Blog - Day 1: Some Kind Of Review Of Attack The Block!

It's been yonks since Joe Cornish selfishly abandoned his post beside Adam Buxton on BBC 6Music's Adam & Joe show to go and fulfil a lifelong ambition to direct a film.
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Fortunately his prolonged absence has been worth enduring, because Attack The Block is hugely entertaining, massively enjoyable funballs, and further evidence (post-Submarine) that there's a new school of British directors set to take on the world. THE WORLD, I TELL YOU.

Cornish, like Garth Jennings, Duncan Jones and Gareth Edwards before him, didn't get the memo that said all British science fiction must be small-scale, tedious analogies of the decline of postwar imperialism or the unbelievable price of stamps or whatever we're complaining about these days. Instead, he's taken a genre he loves, set it in a place he loves, given it a sharp twist and a few stylistic nods to his influences and delivered a balls-out sci-fi actioner that should open a few doors and wallets for him in the hopefully-not-too-distant future.

Attack The Block unashamedly pays tribute to the creature features of the late 1970s and early '80s that Cornish grew up watching, and he makes sure you know it. Improbably stark blue backlights litter the outdoor scenes, and the first confrontation between boys and beast plays like a twisted, violent version of E.T.'s initial meeting with Elliott. By the time the actual block attacking begins it's Gremlins on crack vs. Goonies on weed, and the only thing missing is a cameo from Corey Feldman.
That's not to say the film is unoriginal: turning a bunch of charmless hoodies into plucky protagonists is a brave move, and its success depends on whether or not you think a movie's heroes always have to be the good guys. Regardless, it's also refreshing that their cultural awareness leads them to immediately conclude that aliens are invading, negating the need for lengthy first-act exposition and tedious efforts to convince everyone else of the gravity of the situation.

The young cast carry the film impressively (though not flawlessly), the aliens are admirably effective given the lack of CG bells and whistles, and the tower block itself becomes a character in the same way Nakatomi Plaza did in Die Hard, although you'll need to pay close attention to which direction the lifts are going in to avoid confusion.
If Attack The Block is missing anything, it's a plot wrinkle or two to push it beyond solid, quality entertainment and into outstanding film-making territory. For now, though, Joe Cornish - for so long a radio presenter who wanted to be a film director - has returned to 6Music as a film director who also presents a radio show.

Tomorrow on The Incredible Suit I'll be interviewing Attack The Block's production designer, director of photography and editor. Please come back and read it, otherwise I will have wasted an awful lot of time which could have been spent banging on about You Only Live Twice.


  1. You know you've used Adam's least favourite press photo on the planet there, don't you?

    Marvellous bit of thought dribble, young man. I •told• Robbie that bloggers embraced the flaws. Who'd be bothered to engage with a 'perfect' movie? pfft

  2. Serves him right for making me look like a mentalist on the train this morning with his Pierce Brosnan impression.

  3. jervaise brooke hamster6 November 2011 at 18:28

    It was absolutely appalling and completely unacceptable that a ludicrously pathetic and laughably unwatchable pile of British made celluloid dog-shit like "Attack the Block" (a film than would have disgraced and embarrassed The Childrens Film Foundation 40 years ago ! ! !) was given a cinema release in North America, absolutely scandalous, especially when you consider all the infinitely superior American made low-budget science-fiction and horror movies that are not accorded such a privilige and that have to make do with going straight to DVD instead. Something has got to be done to stop British made celluloid dog-shit (like Attack the Block) from polluting and besmirching American cinemas, as i said its quite scandalous and an insult to American film goers to have such British made feacal material cluttering up their favorite places of public entertain-girl-t. The British film industry is an abomination, it is an insult to the medium of the moving image and an appalling insult to world cinema, the British film industry must be destroyed with malice-a-fore-thought and extreme prejudice.