Saturday, 14 May 2011

ATTACK THE BLOCK

CONTAINS WELL SPOILERS, INNIT, BLOOD, BLAP, MARMALADE

Good grief, old chum. Here's a film to rekindle the age-old dilemma of who to side with in a film: the alien invaders or the human victims. And while I don't entirely fit the profile of the average Daily Mail-reading retired Colonel from Cheltenham forever fulminating about young people today, I must confess I found it next to impossible to sympathise much with the muggers, drug dealers and knife-wielding wannabe gangstas: the nominal heroes of Joe Cornish's British SF/horror/yoof film. Partly that's because of what they are - muggers, drug dealers etc - and partly that's because everything they said was incomprehensible with the exception of the swearing.

Essentially Attack The Block is Skyline, except shot on even less money and set in Lambeth in a council tower block: after a gang of hoodie teenagers discover and then kill some kind of alien monster whose arrival had interrupted a knifepoint mugging, the area is quickly invaded by swathes of larger and more vicious monsters, congregating on the council estate and the block of flats where the teens live. What do they want? While the gang hole up in various people's apartments, eventually taking refuge in a marijuana factory run by Nick Frost (the only widely recognisable face in the film), the aliens swarm up the walls and bloodily despatch everyone who encountered the first creature. Could the explanation be their ultimate salvation?

Well, possibly, although it is hard to care. Much of the dialogue is gibberish, to the extent that I wished there were subtitles. Then I gradually started to understand the words but still had no idea what the hell they were talking about as it's all in street patois which will no doubt sound hideously dated in six months' time. And the film's cheerful tolerance and acceptance of drug culture leaves me a little uncomfortable. Obviously I don't get modern youth culture: I'm 47.  I also didn't entirely buy one major character's conversion.

Granted, the alien design is superb in its simplicity: gorilla-shaped silhouettes with no features whatsoever except for luminous rows of teeth. The film's action sequences are put together well enough, and it's nice to see a film that doesn't rely on CGI for all its thrills. But that's really all the movie has going for it: it wasn't any fun, it wasn't scary or more than fitfully exciting, and ultimately I simply didn't enjoy it; it's a disappointment. Still, what can you do? Young people today. Tch.

**

2 comments:

Shawna Wilkins said...

The accents weren't that hard to understand, I had no trouble with it.

Also, the whole 'Gang' scenario came from what I believe was the creators OWN experience with Muggers. Where he realized that they were just as scared as he was (hence the reference to that, but you couldn't understand them, so you probably missed that part) and it made him wonder about their own personal lives and why they chose to do what they do.

I sympathized for them, but then again I am only 30 and maybe experienced a little less of the wholesome upbringing you may have had and a little more dysfunctional. Which is more common now than in the past. Also the lack of common sense parenting (sort of like how those parents allowed their children to watch that movie) or really parenting in general. (Which was also brought up in the movie. Which lead them to seek out acceptance elsewhere)So it's easier to comprehend that kids make bad choices.

You're saying they aren't capable of being good people and learning from mistakes? They were 15. That's a shame, there are quite a few notable people who were delinquent teens and grew into positive members of society.

Shawna Wilkins said...

I can also bring up that being a stand up citizen doesn't always mean you're a good person.. John Wayne Gacy, for example. He was well known for being involved in the community and charitable...and also hid dead boys under his house.

If you didn't know about his secret fixation with serial killing, and something bad happened to him..you'd feel bad for him, yes?

Well, these kids were outrightly doing something wrong, but at the same time, they had lives that weren't entirely negative. They had the potential to change their ways. None of them actually intended on hurting anyone.