Cynics leave. Right now. I'm waiting. Yeah, you. Get the fuck out.
Okay, who's left? You the kind of film lover that's willing to try anything? To risk sitting through a bad movie in the hopes of seeing something amazing and life-affirming? To see a filmmaker's first attempt at a movie and who knocks it out of the park? Do you remember when you first saw JAWS? Or SEVEN? SHAUN OF THE DEAD? Or THE EVIL DEAD? You knew you were in the presence of greatness, right? You knew that as a film geek, you would never quite be the same. It's a drug, isn't it? When you see something that utterly completely knocks you on your ass? We film geeks chase that feeling every time we sit down in our darkened church. It's the closest I feel to God. When a story is clicking, the acting is clicking, and you are transported. I don't know much in this shitty world, but I know this: the best films are those that take you places that you had no idea you wanted to go. And when it takes you there, you never want to leave.
ATTACK THE BLOCK is the best film this year so far. And I've seen some good ones, in my humble opinion, including one by a legitimate master of film, Terrence Malick. But Joe Cornish's urban tale of a group of kids who find out what it truly means to be a part of something bigger than themselves is THE 400 BLOWS of alien invasion films. Yeah, I said it. Instead of some fantastical view of childhood, which even Spielberg has been guilty of, ATTACK THE BLOCK deals with real kids who are suddenly thrust into a situation that they are ill-equipped to handle. How they deal with that situation, and learn from it, is what makes ATTACK THE BLOCK more than your simple genre film.
I've written about this film at length; Harry's written about it, Beaks has written about it; Capone, Quint - we've all written about it. We are all uniformly in love with this material, and maybe you can think all this coverage is overkill. But we here at AICN all believe in this one simple truth - it's not about the big summer release, or the Oscar-bait film. We are advocates for the new. When a singular voice arrives on the scene, and gives us something wonderful as Joe Cornish has done with ATTACK THE BLOCK, there's a real danger that that voice will be lost in the noise and the rumble of all these major studio releases, and we feel that it's our duty to protect that voice and bring it to the attention of as many people as possible. I've screened the film here in Houston, and Harry's screened it in Austin, and Beaks in Los Angeles, and Capone in Chicago. Every single time audiences have come out jazzed and excited for the film, and I haven't come across anyone who didn't just fall in love with it.
Put it this way. If this film had been released in the 1980s with THE GOONIES, MONSTER SQUAD, E.T., CRITTERS, GREMLINS... we'd be talking about it to this day. We might even be talking about it over some of those movies. It's a movie that will stand the test of time and even more, it's honest. It never cheats, never talks down to the audience. Every scare, laugh, and every emotion in ATTACK THE BLOCK is earned. And when this film builds the following that it most certainly will have, this might be a film that you'll regret not seeing in the theater. It's not open wide yet, but if you're in the vicinity of it, you really need to make the effort and see it. You won't regret it. Pound for pound, ATTACK THE BLOCK delivers as much thrills as the biggest summer blockbuster, and at the end, you will feel like you've seen something truly new and unique, and a new voice entering the film scene. Those films don't come along very often. Maybe once a year, if that.
Has ATTACK THE BLOCK been overhyped? No. You can't overhype genuine greatness. ATTACK THE BLOCK goes on that list of films that we here at AICN have advocated and fought for since the beginning - like PAN'S LABYRINTH, or SHAUN OF THE DEAD, or OLDBOY, or THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE WEIRD, and the day we stop fighting for movies like ATTACK THE BLOCK, we might as well shut the site down and get day jobs.
Okay, cynics and haters, you can come back now. Feel free to talk about whatever inane bullshit you want. As for the rest of us? We're at the movies. Believe.
Here's where you can see ATTACK THE BLOCK this weekend: