Attack the Block
by Adam Nayman and Jeff Reichert
Of all the wonderful little moments in Joe Cornish’s terrific Attack the Block, my favorite finds a white slacker (Luke Treadaway) blaring KRS-One’s “Sound of da Police”—you know the one with the massive, clarion “Woop! Woop!” hook—while waiting for an elevator in his South London apartment building’s lobby. He’s brought up short in his head-bobbing swagger by an encounter with the very sort of people the song has been written for (and about): a pack of (mostly) black teenagers, seemingly up to no good. As they sidle up to the elevator, he slips into a deflated, defensive posture—a visual joke complemented by the way the song drops off the soundtrack, one cautiously removed earbud-headphone at a time.
Attack the Block is very much about race, although it’s not so pretentious as to be “about race”: there are trace elements of plenty of 80s science fiction films swimming about in its creative DNA, but The Brother from Another Planet isn’t one of them. Cornish’s achievement is to craft a whip-crack B-movie entertainment that’s built for speed—everything in this alien-invasion thriller happens before you expect it to—but that also gets pretty good sociopolitical mileage to the gallon. Continue reading.