Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review: Attack the Block

Attack the Block is one of those movies that smells vaguely like a cult classic, because it is definitely not mainstream; it dabbles in both the horror and sci-fi genre; and because it possesses a British sensibility (for some this is an automatic indicator of cinematic credibility).  I am going to skip any dissection of the cast in this film - because I came away from the film feeling ambivalent toward the whole lot - and instead am going to come right out and say that I was not feeling this movie at all.  I can however understand how a very small segment of the population might.

- If you like cheap scares that require no thought or set up, then this movie may be for you.
- If you like weak stereotypical caricatures of urban youths cast as glorified anti-heroes, then this movie may be for you.
- If you like poor cinematography and amateurish special effects, then this movie may be for you.
- If you don’t need to know the “why” that goes along with the “who, what, when, and where,” then this movie may be for you.

The truth is that even if you meet one of these conditions, you may still not enjoy this movie.  I don’t dislike it because it has a low budget and weak production value – though the latter really exasperates the situation, but really my disdain is because the movie is incredibly juvenile.  The filmmakers clearly had a target audience in mind when they set out to make this movie, but then they went out and disrespected those fans by putting together a film that lacks a shred of intelligence. 

In the film, a bunch of aliens fall from the sky and focus their attack on an urban city block terrorized by a handful of paper-thin poor man’s street thugs.  There is no rhyme or reason as to why anything in the ninety-plus minutes of the movie actually takes place, except perhaps to allow the cast to spout a bunch of nonsense in their British accents while tussling with aliens that look like the ugly cousins of the wolves from Liam Neeson’s The Grey.

So let’s cut to the chase.  I do not want to spend much more time on this movie.  It goes without saying that I cannot recommend this movie.  It feels like mommy and daddy gave a check to their film school dropout son to go and do something.  While this is not the case, director Joe Cornish does very little to distinguish himself.  There are however a handful of cinephiles who would disagree, but I think this sentiment is born from their lust for films that are different even if it is just for the sake of being different.  For me, this movie resides in the Jack and Jill / Johnny English Reborn neighborhood, which is absolutely the low-rent district of cinematic quality.  Believe me when I tell you that you should take a pass on this one.  Not only will you save ninety minutes of your life, you’ll actually be better for it. 

Standout Performance:  Me – for making it through the entire movie. 


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