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||IMDB Rating: 5.9/10 from 3,456 votes
||Release: 21 September 2012 (UK) /
||Director: James Nunn,
||Stars: Christopher Fulford, Harry McEntire, Jack O'Connell, Jamie Thomas King, Jill Baker, Julie Graham, Kane Robinson, Michael Legge, Montserrat Lombard, Nabil Elouahabi, Ralph Brown, Ralph Laurila, Russell Tovey, Sheridan Smith, Tony Jayawardena
||Synopsis: Several months after witnessing a murder, residents of Tower Block 31 find themselves being picked off by a sniper, pitting those lucky enough to be alive into a battle for survival.
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Tower Block is a lesson in how to make fine films in single locations
with tiny budgets that are character driven, effects-light and based on
sharply written simple premises, which are blackly funny but still
suspenseful. That Tower Block marks the feature directorial debuts for
James Nunn & Ronnie Thompson, is astounding. What a way to start!
1950's Britain saw the birth of high-rise blocks as a solution to the
post-war population boom. For a while they were popular for their views
and originality. Then we grew up, realized how bad they were for
morale, how quickly they became havens for crime and we started
Fast forward to preset day London. The residents on the top floor of
one such tower block have stubbornly remained in their flats until the
council can rehouse them, despite threats from the developer who has
acquired the land and to being victims of extortion by number one grunt
of the block, Kurtis. When a resident is beaten to death in a vicious
attack, all but one of the other tenants bolt their doors and hope the
trouble will go away. But Becky's heroics count for nothing and her
bruises cause her to withdraw, too. Then, one morning several months
later, a sniper starts executing them.
The stylized title sequence sets the tone of the film with muted
colours, camera angles that make heads tilt and an intensity that puts
the viewer on edge from the outset. We know there'll be a shot fired
sooner or later, but it's still a jolt when the initial shot happens.
It certainly makes an impact
We're given only the briefest
introductions to the characters before the dying commences in style.
It's ruthless when it happens and the 90-minute running time ensures
the pace is tightened for maximum impact. But, though the journey is
swift, Tower Block is far from being only about action and brutality.
Each character who survives the initial onslaught is given (some) time
to breathe and relationships are hastily forged where previously there
has been barely a glance shared on the top floor.
The closest Tower Block comes to a star is Sheridan Smith, an actress
who made her name in TV (Eyes Down, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of
Crisps) and has earned plaudits and gongs on the stage in Legally
Blonde and Hedda Gabler. In Tower Block, Smith states her intention to
conquer the big screen, too, with a strong performance as a determined
woman forced to lead a clutch of neighbours fighting for survival
despite dwindling options and rising tempers.
Excellent as she is, Smith shares ownership of the limelight with Jack
O'Connell (Eden Lake, Harry Brown) as Kurtis. Though Kurtis is utterly
detestable from the moment we meet him, O'Connell subtly unravels him
to reveal insecurities and fears that have been shrouded in a flapping
cloak of aggression for years. Deep within this morally corrupt monster
lies a code of conduct and a pragmatism that one can't help, well, if
not liking then at least enjoying. And screenwriter James Moran has
gifted him some of the funnies quips of the film.
The supporting cast forms a who's who of council estate characters and
there's a certain amount of pleasure to be gained from guessing who's
destined to become the next splatter of pulp across the wall. And when
it inevitably arrives, each demise brings its own cocktail of wince and
Moran, who is given a moment of glory with the presence of his Cockneys
Versus Zombies poster, writes from within each character with the same
tone he set in 2006's Severance. There are no pointless monologues of
exposition, just beautiful, jagged and bitterly funny snatches of
conversation that reflect each character's evolution from their
reticence to reveal too much, to the spewing of emotion when their
mortality is callously close. If this is anything to go by, next year's
Silent Night of the Living Dead could be stunning.
Though last night's audience was woefully small, it was a preview
screening and the buzz with which the viewers left was palpable and
Tower Block is likely to be a film that steadily builds an audience via
word of mouth. And so it should. It's an exciting, gritty, funny film
and, in the current batch of 'films in towers', though it falls short
of the virtually flawless The Raid, I suspect it ranks higher than
Dredd and positively towers above Man on Ledge and Tower Heist.
Tower Block misses perfection for some silly mistakes it is impossible
to point out here without giving away plot lines other than to say the
final act of violence was three inches the wrong side of cheesy and
when a certain character improvises with 'armour', only in the worst
moments of Hollywood would it be adequate. But these are but silly
errors of judgment in an otherwise riveting film that'll have you
thinking twice before you thrown open the curtains.
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Tags for Tower Block Full Movie
, Harry McEntire
, Jack O'Connell
, Jamie Thomas King
, Jill Baker
, Julie Graham
, Kane Robinson
, Michael Legge
, Montserrat Lombard
, Nabil Elouahabi
, Ralph Brown
, Ralph Laurila
, Russell Tovey
, Sheridan Smith
, Tony Jayawardena
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