Summer Weekend Review: Attack the Block

Sure, September is here, but summer doesn’t end until the 22. So we continue with our late-season Summer Movie Reviews of older films. This one came out in 2011 and its following has only increased since. It features the timely account of people coming together under crisis: not a natural disaster, in this case, but an alien invasion.

It also stars the incoming Doctor.

Title: Attack the Block

Written and directed by Joe Cornish

Jodie Whittaker as Sam
John Boyega as Moses
Alex Esmail as Pest
Franz Drameh as Dennis
Leeon Jones as Jerome
Simon Howard as Biggz
Luke Treadaway as Brewis
Jumayn Hunter as Hi-Hatz
Nick Frost as Ron
Maggie McCarthy as Margaret
Danielle Vitalis as Tia
Paige Meade as Dimples
Gina Antwi as Dionne
Natasha Jonas as Gloria
Sammy Williams as Probs
Michael Ajao as Mayhem
Selom Awadzi as Tonks


Aliens turn up in east London on Guy Fawkes Night. Since Jodie Whittaker isn’t Doctor Who yet, she must join forces with the kids who had earlier mugged her.

High Points:

The story keeps moving and it provides plenty of funhouse-style scares, things that matter quite a bit in an action movie. If its commentary on social class and race may not always be clear, the film at least tries to be about more than a giant bug hunt.

Low Point:

The characters are unevenly presented and developed. We see enough of them for the film to work, but not enough for the transformation of thugs into quasi-heroes to be consistently effective.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 It’s an alien invasion popcorn movie, but it’s an original take on the genre, with plausible in-universe explanations for (1) the fact that the aliens care to invade earth and (2) the ability of humans to stand up to creatures able to cross interstellar space.

Effects: 4/6 The effects combine puppetry (impressive) with effects-enhanced costumes (adequate). They’re impressive, as far as they go, but viewers will know what they’re watching.

Acting: 5/6 The actors—many of them quite young and without extensive experience—play their characters credibly. Our attitudes towards characters shift throughout the film, and that shift relies heavily on the actors.

Production: 4/6

Story: 4/6

Emotional Response: 4/6

Overall: 5/6 The film intends to be a contemporary, superior version of an old B-pic monster movie, and it succeeds.

In total, Attack the Block receives 30/42