The gang get ready to battle some aliens.
The gang get ready to battle some aliens.

(15) 88mins

Director: Joe Cornish.

Starring: Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Alex Esmail

IT HARDLY sounds the stuff of quality film-making - aliens landing in a rundown London borough and fighting a bunch of criminal teenagers.

But, sporting a low budget, this is the kind of movie that leaves so-called Hollywood blockbusters like Battle: Los Angeles and Skyline in its wake.

It has good acting, great direction, a storyline that doesn’t treat the audience like idiots and a moral message or two.

This is Cornish’s first film outing as director and he also wrote the screenplay so gets a double thumbs-up.

The movie starts in a decidedly dark mood with the mugging of a nurse (Whittaker), but this is no random act thrown in to add some street cred, it’s an essential part of the story.

Once the aliens arrive the action really kicks in and there’s plenty of gore and frantic chases as the teenage gang try to rid the block of the menace.

Another bonus is the fact that the aliens are really great - dark, fierce-looking and very unpleasant.

Frost, as a spaced-out drug-dealer, gets the credits as he’s the most well-known actor, but Whittaker (best known for her TV roles) is also excellent as the nurse forced to seek help from her attackers.

But for me the real stars are the gang themselves. The pick of them are Boyega as the leader Moses and Esmail as Pest, showing great skill.

Look out for these guys in the future.

You could view this film as an analogy with the gang as ‘aliens’ within society with their street talk and anti-social habits.

You could also say that the moral of the story is that we all have to deal with the consequences of our own actions.

But don’t mistake this as just a gritty drama - there’s lots of great comic moments that help create a remarkable movie.

four out of five stars

Steve Payne