Tag Archives: Joe Cornish

Attack the Block Proves You Don’t Have to be Epic to Be a Hero

Movie theaters used to hold a special kind of magic.

Lined up with my friends, clutching the occasional purchase of popcorn and a soft drink, or sneaking smuggled in snacks, we would watch in awe and horror as teenagers paraded around on screen, seemingly oblivious to the threat of violence lurking around the corner. When I was about thirteen years old, I sat through the original Scream. The rules of horror movies, as articulated by the character Randy, were clear and concise:

Randy: There are certain RULES that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie. For instance, number one: you can never have sex.
[crowd boos]
Randy: BIG NO NO! BIG NO NO! Sex equals death, okay? Number two: you can never drink or do drugs.
[crowd cheers and raises their bottles]
Randy: The sin factor! It’s a sin. It’s an extension of number one. And number three: never, ever, ever under any circumstances say, “I’ll be right back.” Because you won’t be back.

But there were some rules that we knew that never were articulated.

    1. The black character always dies, normally first. This is normally related to not being lead characters, but easily dispensable side characters. Sure, we had Tales from the Hood, but we knew the score. I think that’s why all of us at the local participatory theater screamed the whole way through I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. “Run, Brandy, Run! You gotta make it because they already killed Mekhi!”

    2. Upper middle class white kids are the stars of these things. In general, no matter how big and bad the villain is, they are still hanging out in pastoral campgrounds or tony neighborhoods, waiting for their victims to sun themselves on their cabanas. The only exception I can think of was Candyman who was black and haunted the Cabrini-Green housing projects. And later, came a few other things we need not name. But in general, horror film villains and heroes alike were in the providence of “not us.”

So when Moses and his crew took to the screen, defending their tower block from alien invasion, my inner fourteen year old wanted to jump up and start yelling.

Unfortunately, my 28 year old self knows we don’t do those things at the Museum of Modern Art, even if we really, really, want to.

[Some light spoilers ahead.]
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All In The Same Gang: Examining Attack The Block’s Approach To Race

By Guest Contributor Kartina Richardson, cross-posted from MirrorFilm

On Saturday nights in 1993, the TNT television channel played science fiction movies back to back beginning at midnight. They called this the TNT “Monster Movie Marathon.” As my parents had recently divorced, my sister and I now spent weekends at my father’s house and the Saturday night Monster Movie Marathon quickly became our tradition. We made our bed on the living room floor and taped each movie on the VCR. Them! was a favorite, as was The Day the Earth Stood Still. The Thing, both the 1951 version and John Carpenter’s became beloved, as did The Day of the Triffids and Cronenberg’s The Fly. When I think of great science fiction now, these are a few of the films that come immediately to mind. When my five future children watch sci-fi movies I wonder if my list of favorites will be on their’s. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t but one thing I know is this: they will love Attack the Block with the fervor of their dear mama.

In Joe Cornish’s directorial debut, ruffian teens from a South London council estate (the projects), find their Bonfire Night thievery interrupted by an alien invasion. Lead by boss boy Moses (John Boyega), the boys: Jerome, Pest, Dennis, and Biggz, use their wily and hilarious teenage ways to escape the bad guys (aliens, police, a murderous rapping drug dealer) and defend their home.

Block is a tight, fast, movie, whose pieces (sound, photography, acting, editing, production design, dialogue) fit together in perfect harmony. Energy is palpable in all aspects of production.

Passion is infectious, and after seeing Block, so great was my enthusiasm, that my body, confused by this unusual excitement, grew alarmed and immediately flushed water out my armpits in great rivers.

“Is it hot in here bruv?” I said to the friend beside me.

“Nah blood, it ain’t,” he said. And at that moment I knew. I knew that any movie able to stimulate my glands to such a degree was a fine film indeed.

I luff Attack the Block bruv. Trust.

SPOILERS AHEAD
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