Hey Phurious I watched 'Attack The Block' this morning and having spent many a podcast hearing Joe Cornish slag off other film makers, he has now put his head out of the trenches into the firing line and I can say that this film was to me a bit dissapointing! For a start the chavs we are meant to be rooting for I didn't like! They are muggers and not nice kids. They also speak in that annoying slang talk, I understand this is the way chavs speak and it needed to be done like this for the film but I still found it really annoying. To make things worse I thought all the chav kids were pretty poor at acting except the leader 'Moses'. I also found this film full of cliches and there was nothing really new to be found it in! Don't get me wrong it's not terrible but it's not brilliant either, there are a few cool scenes in it. It's only 1hr 20mins running time so give it a watch and make up your own mind but just don't have high expectations for it. 6/10
I managed to sneak it in this week. And I must admit it's one of my faves of the year so far. A number of factors swayed me and that opening crane shot of Oval Station, which I cycle past every week on the way to work immediately imbued the film with a sense of familiarity (which I'ma sucker for. The same thing happened with Eastern Promises
which opens on Broadway Market; a street that I know really well). I also liked the 'Wyndham' Towers naming of the block, a tipping of the hat to a great British sci-fi writer.
I thought the photography and lighting were absolutely top notch. Again I know that estate where most of it was shot (same place as Harry Brown
) and the way that Cornish and his DoP managed to make it look so atmospheric was really impressive.
Also I was really taken with the creature design. That sort of luminous blue mouth that shaped into eyes was used to great effect and the 'blacker than black' look (surely a nod to Disaster Area's
spaceship in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams?) worked really well. I mean they weren't scary, but they were definitely menacing in a primal kind of way.
Regarding the kids/actors and overall performances I thought that everyone was solid. I've certainly seen a lot worse performances in films of a similar setting (Kid/Adulthood
and whilst the whole 'sympathy' issue with the protagonist's could be an issue for some, I was fine with it. I think it's a brave move of Cornish to show young people as they are in that kind of environment - there's no Hollywood aggrandising these characters, they are who they are. I think the main problem for people is that 'we know' or are at the very least familiar with these types of kids and it's probably a bit close to home, but I'm sure many Britons don't have a problem siding or at least sympathising with the 'hoodz' in Boyz N The Hood
or the kids in City Of God
because they are problems that are far away from our own 'realities'. Anyway there are tips to the disenfranchised youth theory, but these aren't crammed down our throats. These kids are just going on instinct, they simply don't know any better, and there is a scene towards the end where they (well Moses) show some remorse to Sam for their first encounter (plus he risks his life).
Overall though I thought the pacing was spot on and it was go, pretty much from the offing and it barely let up, which is always good in my books (see Evil Dead II
) and most of all it was really funny. There's some superb one-liners and a great play with the slang that the kids use, unlike the serious 'issues' laden Kid/Adulthood
, there was a celebration of the language and it genuinely showed the richness of a generation of young speakers who like countless generations before them are evolving and transforming the English language - a bastard mongrel of a language that shapes and shifts no matter how much it pains us (I reckon Stephen Fry would appreciate it immensely).
So, yeh, definitely one of my top three films of 2011 bruv.