Movie Review: Attack the Block (2011)

Attack the Block is an enjoyable teens vs aliens movie. The main character, Moses, starts out as just another juvenile delinquent leading other hooligans. Then the aliens come, and Moses and his band of loyal followers bring it. Well, eventually. After all, they're up against giant beasts with a double row of teeth that glow in the dark.

As the aliens close in, the boys retreat back into their apartment block, where they gain unlikely allies. They also manage to antagonize the local drug dealer along the way. That doesn't stop them from making a beeline for the safest place in the block: the dealer's fortified weed room, which incidentally holds the source of, and solution to, their extraterrestrial problems.

The soundtrack of the this movie is pimp. The beats pound away as the youths' inner city lives come into focus. Attack the Block isn't shy about social commentary. At one point, Moses speculates that the aliens have been sent in to "kill black boys." Earlier, one of his friends laments that they mugged a nurse: "Why did we go after poor people?" They smoke weed with a major pothead (Nick Frost, of course). They're barely supervised. But that works to their advantage, because parents can be such a killjoy when you announce that you're off to fight aliens, and where's the biggest kitchen knife?

Watching the movie, Fiancé was struck by how much of American culture has spread over the Atlantic. The kids in Attack the Block could be mistaken for typical gangsta youth in the States, if not for their British accents. John Boyega, who plays Moses, looks like a teenage Denzel Washington. But the characters in the movie have extra grit that lets them make good tactical decisions: flee when possible, attack when necessary. In the end, Moses comes up with the plan to end the alien threat. There's a glaring absence of police throughout the siege of the block, but I think that's because the movie demands it.

It's easy to see why this film has achieved cult status. Attack the Block features strong performances, a sharp script, competent cinematography, and of course, a pimp soundtrack. It's a pleasant distraction from the soul-crushing dreariness of your life. Wait, your life isn't soul-crushing or dreary? Well, just mine then.

Tonight, we watch The Hobbit! Happy Friday!