ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY Attack the Block★★★★ 9.00-10.45pm E4
Establishing Joe Cornish, formerly of radio duo Adam and Joe, as a writer/director to watch, Attack the Block brings the Gremlins-style creature caper bang up to date with the tale of a socially excluded, patois-slinging gang of hoodies on a south London council estate. When their “block” is targeted by sharp-toothed alien invaders (largely unseen for budgetary reasons), they must find the hero within amid breakneck siege action around the estate’s walkways, garages and bins. Cornish does not patronise his young protagonists, drawing on his local cast’s ear for authentic street language. Acting ballast comes from Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway and Nick Frost, while John Boyega, then an actorly unknown, has since seen his career go supernova in Star Wars Episode VII: the Force Awakens. If the argot, petty crime and inner-city setting put some audiences off, it still emerges as a socially conscious, energetic sci-fi caper that’s scary and very funny.
The young siblings from fairy tale have grown up to be anything but sweet as candy in this dark “what if” action fantasy. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton give killer performances as the tooled-up steampunk slayers.