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Attack The Block

Attack The Block

By Patrick Samuel • September 17th, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
Optimum Home Entertainment

Release date: September 19th 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 88 minutes

Writer and director: Joe Cornish
Producer: Nira Park
Composer: Basement Jaxx, Steven Price

Cast: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, Nick Frost

You know, I’ve often wondered why it’s always New York, Los Angeles or Washington that’s invaded by visitors from outer space. You’d never think of an old, rundown London housing estate to be the scene for such mayhem and panic as we’ve seen in Cloverfield (2008), Independence Day (1996) or Battle LA (2011), at least not by extraterrestrials anyway.

That’s until Joe Cornish put together Attack The Block, a film I didn’t think I would enjoy half as much as I did, especially in light of the recent riots that took place here, but it’s a film which certainly gave me a lot to think about, which is more than I can say for the majority of American sci-fi imports.

Attack The Block

The film kicks off with trainee nurse Sam (Jodie Whittaker) being robbed by a gang of hooded thugs outside the South London tower block where she lives. Mid-robbery, a meteorite crashes into a nearby park, offering Sam gets a chance to run away. The gang then go off to find out what crashed and as quickly as they discover the creature that came with it, they kill it and drag its body around for the rest of their friends to see.

Oddly enough, it’s this gang of thugs we’ll stay with for the duration of the movie. When Sam reports the robbery to the police, they take her on a drive-about to try and spot the robbers. The leader, Moses (John Boyega), is picked up when she identifies him as the main attacker. As he’s arrested and put into the back of the police van, a new wave of meteorites descend on the area and all hell breaks loose.

The police van is attacked and the officers are torn to ribbons by the furry jet black aliens, but the remaining members of the gang decide to break Moses loose. When he gets injured by one of the aliens he becomes intent on tracking it down and killing it as well. At this point though, the gang haven’t fully realised what the creatures are.

Attack The Block

They take refuge in the tower block after inadvertently triggering a gang war with some other local thugs. Unfortunately for Sam, this means that she hasn’t seen the last of them, the attackers and the attacked must now work together if they’re to hold off the invasion on their home ground.

One of the surprising things about Attack The Block is the way its scripted. Though the language is street smart and I found it quite difficult at first, the characters are all so real that whatever barriers that first stands in the way soon fades and we’re able to connect with them. The lines and the way they’re delivered are just brilliant, “This is too much madness to fit into one text!” says Jerome (Leeon Jones) at one point. In another scene we have two smaller kids who want to be called Mayhem and Probs when one says to the other “No one is going to call you Mayhem if you keep acting like such a pussy”!

Attack The Block

This is also represented in a visual way; the gang members are at first all hooded and wearing scarves around their faces, but as the story unfolds, so too do these facades and we begin to see more of their faces, this is especially true with Moses.

The cast do an amazing job and given the moments the tension and horror there’s also a lot of humour to balance it out. John Boyega is impressive as the complicated and conflicted hero, he’s like teenage British version of Denzel Washington and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see him in more features to come.


  • Audio Commentaries
  • Behind The Block (58:52)
  • Creature Feature (19:38)
  • Meeting The Gang (03:58)
  • It’s A Rap (02:17)
  • Unfilmed Action (04:45)
  • Trailers (03:00)

I was really surprised by how much I loved this movie. When it was over I poured through the special features as well and there’s a lot of great behind-the-scenes footage where we see how the young cast were given free reign to develop their characters.

As Frances Talyor said in her cinema review, “it’s a great film with many layers to peel through”, and she’s definitely right. It will entertain, maybe even scare you a bit, you’ll without a doubt laugh, but you’re guaranteed to have something to think and talk about after as well.

Attack The Block

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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