Attack the Block follows an unlucky young woman and a gang of tough inner city kids who make an unlikely alliance to try to defend their turf against an invasion of savage alien creatures, turning a South London apartment complex into an intergalactic war-zone.Written by
A true lesson in how to make an engaging film with limited budget
All aspiring film-makers should watch this. And those producing films for SyFy or Asylum should also take note.
First and foremost, we need characters. Characters that have each their own voice and emotions, all growing from their personal past. This makes the viewer care about what happens to them, root for them, and believe in them. It also takes a bit of the storytelling burden off the cinematography, as these characters can support the story in their part.
Secondly, a compelling story should be written. Compelling does not necessarily equal complex. A story should have events pan out in an order that presents at least some kind of logic and thought behind it. Twists and turns are okay, but they don't have to be gimmicks. This doesn't mean resorting to worn clichés, but have these engaging characters something to do. Something, that has some weight to it, so that the viewer stays focused for the length of the movie.
And third, add a bit of vision. A little quirk here and there brings the humanity of the characters, the story, and those making the film apparent, and creates the valuable bond between the finished movie and its' audience.
As we can see, none of these elements require much of a budget. So having a small budget should not be a constraint per se, but rather a source of ingenuity. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is one excellent example, Attack the Block is another.
It is clear that they did not have the money for a plethora of awesome locations, top-notch CGI, or brand-name anything. But what they managed to do with what they had was fun and entertaining and well worth a re- watch: The lack of shooting locations was masked with a brilliant and logical reason for limited room; lack of awe-inspiring special effects was masked with more traditional skills, ie. use of light and sound, and going story first (everyone knows how annoying is the modern over-focus on CGI over human connection, even when the effects are great); and I have no reason to believe they were looking for cheap actors, but people with desire to go out and do their best and have some fun while at it.
This film is fresh and entertaining, and as stated in the beginning, a great lesson in how to make something great out of nothing much.
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