‘Attack the Block’, A Brief Excavation

Long is the list of science-fiction mediated texts that deals with social issues, especially race. Vic Morrow’s character was forced to confront his bigotry in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and the shift of social power that was the authority of Black folks as their integrity and compassion was tested for the mercy of whites in one of Ray Bradbury’s short stories in Illustrated Man, first published in 1951. The vast possibilities for what this genre allows is the reason so many of us love it. It keeps stories fresh with its ‘anything goes’ ideology.


My highly anticipated viewing of Attack The Block (2011) was no shock to my media-junkie geek/cultural critic saavy. It was overt in its treatment of race and class dynamics without being exploitative. The action and motivation was exciting enough without being preachy. And it had a wickedly fresh twist that began in the darkness of night, where the silence is replaced with the bustle of markets, vendors, firecrackers and the numbness of the multi-racial (but mostly Black) working-class youth in London’s South End.

Whatever the plans of the group of five young men headed by Moses (John Boyega), the rather timid white lady Sam (Jodie Whittaker), a rapper/pot dealer and his crew (the label of rapper is a stretch), two little guys with moxie, and a group of girls similar in age to Moses’ group are demolished when other-worldly creatures decide to make a literal and figurative impact on their neighborhood on this fateful night. Moses and company, after capturing and killing one of these creatures, find more are landing down, their motivation we later learn is based on simple biological impulse.