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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Review: Attack The Block (15) ★★
A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion.

On paper, Attack The Block should be a film that I'd enjoy. A film that gives little nods and winks to classics like Aliens, The Thing, Predator and, to an extent, Critters.
It's a shame then that after watching it, I can't help but feel like an opportunity was missed.

The trouble I feel is not so much with the film itself but more in the lead characters, the group of anti hero's that save the day. The kids. You see I hated them and the way they were presented. I hated their morals and their sense of ignorance. Nothing made me relate or show empathy toward them. In fact, I was firmly rooting for the aliens.

It's hard to not turn this review into a social commentary on what youth culture is perceived to be these days. We live in a age of "hoodies" who torment and terrorise council estates, or so the media and film lead us to believe, and as such the film portrays our central band of youths just as such.

The film starts out with a despicable act by the gang who threaten and mug a woman. With a knife. Five against one. No remorse. In fact afterwards they start laughing and joking about what they've done. Nice. Immediately I'm alienated from them and see no good in what they could then do. To me they are just thugs. Maybe I'm being ignorant but this is what continues throughout the rest of the film.

The aliens invade and the gang go up against them to protect their block of flats but not before we see them dealing in Class A drugs and going to get machetes and guns from their flats. Remember these are teenagers.

Now inevitably the gang come across the same woman they mugged before and not until her third attempt at begging do they actually show some sign of remorse to what they had done and offer to help her. In fact one of them says, after finding out the woman lives in their block, "If we knew you'd lived here we wouldn't have done it". well that's ok then, it's ok to mug and threaten people if they don't live next to you. Add to this the fact that the woman is a nurse who helps one of the gang from bleeding to death, yet still gets told to do one and go up against the aliens herself. Again, no remorse or pity shown. We are about half way through the film at this point.

Throughout the whole thing I was wanting these kids to meet their end, for the aliens to get hold of them and rip them a new one.

The lack of remorse continues when one of the kids asks the woman if she has a boyfriend. She replies yes, he's a aid worker helping children in Africa to which he replies " Why isn't he helping kids in England?". This coming from a lad who's spent the entire film smoking dope, banging on about his PS3, riding bikes and has a family and a home. It just made me shake my head.

There are neat touches, and I can see a really good film struggling to get out, it's just that they seem to have decided to make the lead kids so stereotypically "Hoodie" that they may alienate a large chunk of their target audience.

There's a weak attempt at redemption toward the end and a sickly sweet end scene that seems completely remote to the rest of the film that  it will leave you confused as to what you should be feeling.

With friends like Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg shouting Attack The Block's brilliance from their Twitter rooftops people may be forced into liking this film just to stay 'cool'. I don't care, I watch a film and if I like it, I like it, I don't need anyone to tell me so.

I didn't like this, but then I don't like these type of characters. I'm sorry but if you mug, threaten people with knifes, deal in class A drugs, own machetes and guns then I'm not going to be your friend. Even if aliens invade. Because I will be feeding you to them.


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