In 2001, British writer and director Joe Cornish had a life-altering experience when he was mugged outside his house. He couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if an alien invasion had taken place during the attack, and the savagery of his young assailants had become an asset in fighting the extraterrestrial threat. This idea stayed with him for a decade, until it finally became the basis for his feature film debut, Attack The Block.
In the movie, Cornish replaced himself with a well-spoken, recently graduated nurse named Sam (played by Jodie Whittaker). Sam becomes the victim of a mugging by a gang of youths, led by fifteen-year-old Moses (John Boyega), who later decides to “tool up” and defend their block against invading aliens. The film is a fast-paced, thrilling ride that doesn’t give the audience a chance to catch their breath. The kids initially come across as caricatures, but as the story progresses, they win us over and we find ourselves rooting for them.
While Attack The Block is not a perfect movie, with the aliens resembling something out of 80s Doctor Who and the final scene lacking the emotional impact it aims for, it’s still a fun and enjoyable film. The sight of Moses heroically swinging from a union flag may not have the intended effect on British audiences, but it could play well in an inevitable American remake. If Cornish’s next film is as good as his debut, there’s no doubt he’ll be a powerhouse in Hollywood in the years to come.