The SXSW Film Festival announced its final award winners Saturday morning, March 19th, all of which were selected by the films’ audiences, and as tabulated across both the official SXSW Midnighter section and the SXFantastic sidebar, the big genre winner was Joe Cornish’s Attack The Block.
Yet, despite all the acclaim the film received from both critics and fest attendees, one thing it didn’t find at the 2011 SXSW is distribution. According to THR’s Heat Vision Blog, the authenticity of its characters is partly to blame. There’s a great deal of heavily-accented slang from inner-city London incorporated into the dialogue, and subtitling can be expensive. Which means of course there’s always the alternative of just acquiring the movie’s remake rights and making a U.S. version of the film. Meanwhile THR’s comments have generated some heated online discussions and campaigns in behalf of releasing the film as-is.
IndieWire thinks people need to take a deep breath, and we agree: Attack The Block was always going to be a niche player. Featuring a no-name cast, no major studio or arthouse arm (except for Fox Searchlight, maybe) will likely be interested. Secondly, the subtitling-British-movies worry comes up every now and again, usually when there is a film generating some heat and there is some concern that the flyover states won’t understand the pic, [but] distributors hate spending money they don’t need to. No one picking up the movie is likely to want to spend more getting it subtitled.
As for a remake, [it's doubtful] any plans on that front would preempt an American release of the original. And again, no contracts have been signed anyway. [It's likely] a deal will close for the film with a genre-friendly distributor (IFC Midnight would be a good fit, Magnolia perhaps), and everyone will be happy.
Attack the Block is a fast, funny, frightening action adventure movie that pits a teen gang against an invasion of savage alien monsters. It turns a housing estate into a sci-fi playground. A tower block into a fortress under siege. And weapon-wielding teenage thugs into heroes. Think ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 only with monsters and a tower block. Or LA HAINE crossed with ALIENS. It’s inner city versus outer space.
Trainee nurse Sam is walking home to her flat in a scary South London tower block when she’s robbed by a gang of masked, hooded youths. She’s saved when the gang are distracted by a bright meteorite, which falls from the sky and hits a nearby parked car. Sam flees, just before the gang are attacked by a small alien creature that leaps from the wreckage. The gang chase the creature and kill it, dragging its ghoulish carcass to the top of the block, which they treat as their territory.
While Sam and the police hunt for the gang, a second wave of meteors falls. Confident of victory against such feeble invaders, the gang grab weapons, mount bikes and mopeds, and set out to defend their turf. But this time the creatures are bigger. Much bigger. Savage, shadowy and bestial, they are hunting their fallen comrade, and nothing will stand in their way. THE ESTATE IS ABOUT TO BECOME A BATTLEGROUND. And the bunch of no-hope kids who just attacked Sam are about to become her, and the block’s, only hope.
Click on the one-sheet below to read our Attack the Block review!
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