Dir: Joe Cornish
With: Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker
DISAFFECTED British yoof, inner city decay, more hoodies than David Cameron would ever want to hug, Attack the Block is a movie that has “gie’s peace, seen it all before” tattooed on its neck.
But put those assumptions in the recycling bin, daddio, because Joe Cornish’s drama turns out to be a surprisingly entertaining little number.
Though made on a budget that wouldn’t cover the pastries on a Hollywood film set, and peopled with the kind of characters you’d cross the multiplex corridor to avoid, Attack the Block goes about its task with such swagger, energy and humour you can’t help liking the little beggar. The setting is London and the opening finds a nurse (Jodie Whittaker) walking home from work and straight into a yobbish welcome from a knife-wielding gang.
They think she’s a stranger on the estate, but the real outsiders are on their way – and they’re not coming by Tube. An alien invasion is set to take place. Its target? The tower blocks of Brixton.
Attack the Block’s director is Joe Cornish of The Adam and Joe Show. Cornish likes daft humour and isn’t afraid to show it. He likes his pop culture references too, loading the piece with nods to many another science fiction film. There’s even room, Ben Elton will be pleased to know, for a little bit of politics.
For the most part, though, Attack the Block, like Shaun of the Dead before it, is a film out to have a laugh. Helping in that task are Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, as a posh student on a steep learning curve, and Nick Frost as genial drug dealer Ron.
There’s plenty to smile at, from Frost especially, but where Attack The Block exceeds expectations is the way it goes all out to entertain. An impressive debut from Cornish.