I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Attack the Block (2011)

There is something really interesting going on with Attack the Block, and it surrounds the paradoxical standpoint of gang life. On the one hand, gangs are connected with criminal activity, with drugs and violence. Gangs are a negative thing. We see this in Attack the Block when our protagonist Moses and his young, mislead thugs mug an unsuspecting British woman. On the other hand, gangs are devoted to protecting their turf, and often their families, their people. This is the hidden other side of gang life, the fact that, like the police, like the military, the intention in much of gang activity is to protect those who might not be able to protect themselves. We see this in Attack the Block when aliens from outer space begin attacking London and the only ones equipped to defeat them are a local group of thugs. The police are murdered easily, but Moses and his crew have their eyes open. They stand for something in the way that American revolutionaries stood for something. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of violence nor the justification of violence, but this idea that criminals are doing the right thing for their block, their city, their nation and their planet raises a question. Is there a Law different from the laws? Is there some immortal justice separate from the rulings of the courts? And finally, if we are serving the Law/justice and not the laws/the courts, might we be understood to be wrong by society but right in the greater scheme of things.

Oh, and there was some pretty sweet alien action in this film too. Let's not forget that.

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