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Pick of the Week: Attack the Block

This is a very alien summer for Hollywood with all those Transformers and assorted others falling from the sky and fighting, from army rangers to cowboys. The thing you would not imagine is that the movie that is probably the best of the season in the Alien Invasion Department would be a wacky plot that could only come from the minds of the makers of Shaun of the Dead. Why is it that some B movies turn out to be so great?

Every year on November 5th, England celebrates Bonfire Day to commemorate the failure of a guy named Guy Fawkes to blow up the British Parliament, so every year since 1606 the London Night is filled with commemorative fireworks; it’s like their 4th of July. So what better night would choose a race of big clawed, light-emitting toothed Alien Invaders to take over London that Bonfire Night, when they can disguise their meteor-like spacecrafts as fireworks?

Of course, they hit a mayor block when one of them that turns out to be very important (don’t want to spoil the fun…) falls  a few yards away from were a local nurse named Sam is being mugged by a gang of local teenagers.

So when the spacecraft hits the ground, Sam hits the road but instead of pursuing her, the very tough leader of the gang, a handsome black kid named Moses, decides to investigate. He is attacked by a strange creature that wounds him in the face, but the thing is no match for a gang of English hooligans and is killed in a nasty way. Things go downhill from that point on when the companions of the creature start falling from the sky.

Attack the Block is a very nice mix of action, horror and comedy and directorJoe Cornish -who is an old pal of Edgar Wright, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, the creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hotfuzz– did a great job with a solid script and a cast of unknown young actors that fill perfectly in that area of London that rarely shows in movies and that they call “the Council Houses”, something very similar to what we in America call “the Projects.”

The main character, Moses, is played by a young actor named John Boyega. Try to remember that name, because the film success is own largely to his brilliant performance as a tough neighborhood kid with a hidden reserve of heroism.Boyega’s Moses is the archetype of the negative hero and goes smoothly in the somewhat subtle romantic plot with Nurse Sam. On the other hand, Jodie Whitaker as Nurse Sam has an easy chemistry with Boyega, that makes plausible the turns of the plot that propel her to the aide of the very guys who were mugging her a while back.

A large part of the laughs in the film are provided by always genial Nick Frost as the local weed seller and underling to the local mobster Hi Hatz. Hi Hatz also provides “the human enemy” that is so necessary in Sci-Fi movies.

All in all a good summer treat with fresh faces, good story and a bunch of laughs too.

 

 

By Horacio Garcia

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