Sunday, 4 September 2011

MOVIEWATCH: Attack The Block (15)

Having been a fan of the cult humour of Adam & Joe for many years, the bar of expectation (good name for a wondrous item, that) was set pretty high for Joe Cornish's directorial debut.  I can happily report that Attack the Block is definitely well worth seeing and I'd go so far as to give it 4 out of 5 stars.

The action takes place in and around a South East London council estate, where a gang of youths led by Moses attempt to thwart an alien invasion.  The film hangs on the premise that Good can indeed come from Evil when the circumstances dictate it, and the quasi-redemption of Moses (John Boyega) and the rest of his gang is both darkly humorous and thought provoking to watch in light of the recent rioting in London and other parts of the UK.

Cornish's comedic sensibilities shine through and create some genuinely funny moments as counterpoints to the movie's tense and scary undertone.  The creature design is innovative and well executed applying the common sense approach of less is most definitely more when working on a modest budget (for a sci-fi film) of $13 Million.  The decision to cast newcomers to play the youths keeps the authenticity level high, whilst the inclusion of established actors in the shape of Nick Frost (Ron), Jodie Whitaker (Sam) and Luke Treadaway (Brewis) keeps the film accessible.

The only issue I have with the film is that the language used will not be familiar to most, being very specific to South East London gang culture of 2011 and like all similar "gang" films the colloquialisms will be also date very quickly.  To help out here are a few words translated into English.

Endz - Gang territory, the estate.  Originating from the concept that gangs territory is defined from one end of a road to the other.
Bare - Good
Fam - Family or gang.  Abbreviation of Family.
D'ya'getme - Do you understand me.
Snitch - Informer, also used to
Po Po / Feds - Police
Bra Bra Bra - The sound of a machine pistol being fired.

There's some pretty rich material in here for any DM thinking of running an alien invasion one nighter and the setting would quite easily transpose onto any metropolis be it Chicago's Projects, Paris's "Banlieue, Rio's "Favela" or the city-bottom Blocks of Mega City One  

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