Attack the Block


Brit action comedy starring Nick Frost and directed by Joe Cornish Discuss this article

Like the aliens that rampage through a Brixton tower block, this is an unexpected beast. An unrecognisably well-spoken Jodie Whittaker plays Sam, the jobbing nurse whose decision to move into a south London estate backfires when she’s first mugged by teen thugs, then chased by marauding monsters. But Whittaker, and comic relief Nick Frost as Ron, are merely the film’s audience-friendly face. The real stars are the thugs, led by wannabe player Moses (John Boyega), whose decision to tool up and defend their turf kicks the plot into high gear.

And this is an astonishingly fast-moving film. Cornish doesn’t do eerie build-ups or character-establishing dialogue scenes: it’s pedal to the metal from the word go.

This can make the opening scenes confusing: there are a lot of characters to keep up with. But it pays off in pure adrenaline: we’re never given a second to settle, and the result is exhilarating. Gradually characters emerge, and it’s here that Cornish’s skill as writer and director becomes evident. These kids start out as caricatures – the moody leader, the speccy geek, the mouth – but the respect shown to them is hugely refreshing, and their progressions are heartfelt and wholly believable.

All of which elevates ‘Attack the Block’ from fun creature-feature throwback to this year’s unmissable British movie, and Cornish from just another geek-turned-filmmaker to a major talent: if he can strike a similar balance between sympathy, insight and crowd-pleasing thrills in future projects, his status is assured.

By Tom Huddleston
Time Out Doha,

Attack the Block

  • Duration: 88
  • Released: Thu, 28 Jul
  • Classification: 18+
  • Language: English
  • Director: Joe Cornish
  • Stars: Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, John Boyega, Adam Leese, Joey Ansah, Chris Wilson, Flaminia Cinque, Terry Notary, Alex Esmail

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