Film Festival Today

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Urban Teens Versus The Aliens

Written by: FFT Webmaster | August 9th, 2011

What happens when you mix one part HARRY POTTER, one part CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and one part ALIEN? Well, all signs point to ATTACK THE BLOCK, a feisty UK indie that is proving to be a summertime hit. In his debut feature, writer/director Joe Cornish, a comedian/television presenter in Blighty, has assembled a diverting tale that is described in press materials as “inner city vs. outer space,”. The film centers on a quintet of teen street hoodlums from the impoverished nabe of South London who defend their tower-block home in the projects from an invasion of shaggy-haired aliens. Set over one wild night, the film is already being compared to the 2004 UK zombie comedy SHAUN OF THE DEAD, with its mix of wry humor and genuine chills.


This is the first greenlit screenplay from Cornish, who penned the Steven Spielberg fantasy film THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN with fellow Brits Edgar Wright and Steven Moffat. While that film awaits its international premieres at major festivals this Fall, ATTACK THE BLOCK is creating its own considerable buzz, not just for the dexterity of the direction and the sharpness of the script, but also the teen cast who were introduced to American audiences at last month’s Comic-Con fantasy convention in San Diego. Among the racially diverse teens getting kudos are John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones and Simon Howard.

The film starts rather menacingly when the group robs a nurse (played by starlet Jodie Whittaker) at knife point. Before they can run away with their loot, an alien falls from the sky, crashing through the roof of a parked car. The extraterrestrial incident provokes little interest from authorities, but the boys summarily chase and kill the intruder, which exacerbates the problem as they must now face a full-on alien invasion. The boys earn sympathy when they make up with their robbery victim, stand up to violent criminal and eventually save the day by routing the alien hordes. The use of local slang, some of which has to be sub-titled in the film, gives an authentic feel for the hardscrabble lives of these urchins, and gives the film a propulsive drive that is matched by the urban rhythm score by Steven Price. The film is a French/UK co-production with Studio Canal and Film Four providing the bulk of the financing. The film is being released in the US by Screen Gems, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. For more information and to view a trailer, visit:

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