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Star – Jack O’Connell
Genre – Thriller
Run Time – 90 minutes
Certificate – 15
Country – U.K
Awards – 1 Win
Amazon – £4.00 DVD (Blue Ray £6.00)
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There was a moment where Jack O’Connell could well have been the next Danny Dyer. That moment was this movie, one of the silliest British films in recent years. You can quickly get typecast as the Cockney chav in British movies and so, rather unfairly, not seen as a talented actor. O’Connell, like Dyer, is the real deal and talks like the sink estate streets he came from. He has done some real ‘juve’ time and earned his spurs on those rough streets and why he is cast as the delinquent in his earlier movies. O’Connell is another ‘This is England’ Shane Meadows graduate and came to our movie attention as tracker wearing baseball capped thugs in films like Eden Lake, Harry Brown and then Starred up, his most celebrated movie yet. He was also very good in 71, about the British soldier lost in the Belfast rat runs of deadly streets in full solider uniform. He has the talent and maybe he now won’t be the next Danny Dyer, the best thing in Tower Block by far, a film he needs to bury. He is a kid with real menace and charisma.
Sheridan Smith ... Becky
Ralph Brown ... Neville
Russell Tovey ... Paul
Jack O'Connell ... Kurtis
Jill Baker ... Violet
Julie Graham ... Carol
Christopher Fulford ... Kevin
Kane Robinson ... Mark
Nabil Elouahabi ... Gary
Harry McEntire ... Daniel
Montserrat Lombard ... Jenny
Ralph Laurila ... Jimmy
Tony Jayawardena ... Eddie
Michael Legge ... Jeff
Jamie Thomas King ... Ryan
East London and 15-year-old Jimmy (Ralph Laurila) races through a grimy housing estate pleading with passersby for help. No one wants to get involved. He enters condemned Tower Block 31 and legs it up to the top floor, still pursued by men in masks. He bangs on doors for help as the men close in on him. The only person who tries to help him is admin worker Becky (Sheridan Smith), but she is kicked to the ground and sparked out as Jimmy is dragged away and kicked to death.
The next morning a Detective Constable Devlin (Steven Cree) conducts door-to-door enquiries about the previous night's murder, as the boy's body has been found in the dumpster. Nobody will speak to the cops here; not even Becky, who claims her injuries are the result of a mugging.
Three months later we learn the top floor of Tower Block 31 houses the last remaining residents waiting to be rehoused as developers have bought the plot and intend to turn it into penthouses for the rich. Some people don’t want to leave whilst others can’t afford to go anywhere else. The council doesn’t care and just want them out. Their problems are increased by local thug Kurtis (Jack O'Connell), who runs a protection racket on the remaining residents and intimidates them form his flat down the hall.
Becky wakes up with her one night stand Ryan (Jamie Thomas King) and seems fully recovered from her ordeal. But as Ryan opens her curtains a snipers bullet smashes into his head and splatters it around the flat. Similar shots immediately crackle across the south facing flats as more and more residents are killed by someone firing at them for unknown reasons. As the residents cower in the corridor and men and women sob and the injured and dead are dragged out they discover the internet and their cell phones are dead and they can’t call for help and likely to be picked off one-by-one.
Mature older resident Neville (Ralph Brown) tries to rally the troops as real fear takes hold, as it would, the residents finding it hard not to turn on Kurtis at the same time. The shooter is not discriminating, women and children dead in a pool of blood. But it’s unlikely hero Paul (Russell Tovey) who steps up and joins Becky in trying to plot away out of the tower bloc, Kurtis returning to his injured chav mates for comfort. But a building skip blocks off the exit on the ground floor and the fire escapes have been chained up ready for the demolition. The external stairways are in the smipers fire arc and so no way out. The lift shafts are their only chance but another surprise waiting in there. Whoever is shooting on them has planned it well. But why is he killing them and for what reason?
As I say its pretty silly stuff and when you find out who the sniper is you just throw your arms up in the air. At no point did director James Nunn and writer James Moran know how to end this movie. That aside they do manage to build adequate tension and some solid characters and you do go with it. It’s vey much a movie to watch after a few beers and a takeaway. Every Londoner is represented in the snipers eye line, a real line up of Little Britain characters, from the foul mouthed teen mom with bawling kids to the young black boys up to no good. As far as social comment goes on London’s ethnic melting pot packed into the tower blocks its somewhat lacking, apart from the fact that most working-class people are indeed being priced out of London.
If you can suspend your sense of disbelief that a screenwriter thinks a sniper, shooting up a downtown London tower block, is remotely plausible it’s an ok taught thriller film to go with. It also pulls off the neat trick of getting a 15 Certificate. Women and children get their brains blown out here. The director clearly has talent to make this work and probably low down on the list of directors who wanted to do this film but here it is and it is what it is and he has done the best he could have possibly done. It’s no Attack the Block or Harry Brown.
Its one of those movies Film4 run that gets poor ratings but strangely watchable. They do a lot of that. Well at least it doesn’t have subtitles. In fact this would work a lot better if it was set in the Asian Extreme world of Japanese’s cinema. If it does come on give it a go but don’t expect too much. You will enjoy the action and one or two scenes and who doesn’t love a bit of core blimey Cockney!
Imdb.com – 5.9/10.0 (3,872votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 50 % critic’s approval
Shadows on the Wall –‘Contains some effective jolts and engaging characters. But after setting up the premise, it doesn't really have anywhere to go. Kind of like the characters themselves’.
.Cinema Crazed –‘Though suspension of disbelief is a pre-requisite, [this] is a rather gripping thriller...’
Fan the Fire –‘Thanks to the muddled plot motivations Tower Block really struggles in the final third’.
The Mail –‘Gritty and claustrophobic, this British horror-thriller holds our interest with well-played characters rather than the wobbly plotting’
Birmingham Post –‘There are plenty of clichés, like lifts that don't work and a mysteriously disappearing phone signal. It's badly lit and rather grim, with far too many extreme close-ups’.
This is London –‘The film is efficiently made and more realist than some of its ilk, in that the desperate inhabitants seem credible. What it lacks is directorial flair’
Daily Express –‘The ending is a letdown but this is still a very promising debut from directors James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson’.
My boyfriend and I were looking for a film to watch this morning and we came across this. I am sorry to say that the way we picked this one isn't a huge compliment to that film itself - we have netflix and how we pick movies is that one of us holds the scroll button and one of us shouts "stop" and we ended on this this morning!
The film is about a tower block of flats which is empty except for the top floor. The council are trying to rehouse everyone so the block can be torn down and just the top floor is left.
One day the residents of the top follow witness the murder of a kid who has run up there seeking refuge and is beaten to death. The main character watches this through her spy hole and tries to help but ends up getting beaten up herself. When the police come knocking door to door - none of the residents saw anything.
Three months later the tale takes a dark turn. A sniper is picking all the residents of the top floor off!
I won't go any further as I don't want to spoil it for you, but this is a film worth watching.
Sheridan Smith from 2 pints of lager stars as the lead and she is great in the role.
This isn't a film with the greatest actors or storyline, and if you really want to you can sit and tear the story apart as it is a little silly in places, but if you are happy to just sit and watch and be entertained, it is a good film.
There are some real shocks to the film but I won't spoil them for you! There was one bit that
I liked this film. The idea of it was a little bit different to anything I have seen before and I would recommend it to people.
Tower Block Film and DVD Review
February is the month I hate the most. It is cold, dreary, and cold; did I mention dreary? It is birthday to my ex-wife and it celebrates Valentine's Day; so yeah, basically February is a non-month for me.
So, as I succumbed to yet another February cold I armed myself with lots of nice movies and TV series to watch and having dabbled in soap reviews lately, I thought it best to get back to my movies and books as I am very clean but have missed reviewing lots of films; not least seasons two to eight of Hustle, which I no doubt will review at some stage.
So out with the sofa duvet, lots of snacks and drinks, girlfriend tucked up in bed, watching her favourite blogs and shows and off I go.
I have had this movie for a few months and finally decided to give it a watch. All I knew about it before hand was that it starred Sheridan Smith and it was a bit of a murder mystery. I like Sheridan, so I was looking forward to an easy to watch movie to ease me into things. I got just that. It is not a complicated movie and there are some plot holes but I will forgive it those for keeping the tension going and a couple of good on screen performances, including the lovely Miss Smith.
Becky (Sheridan Smith) lives on the top floor of a high-rise block of flats. Developers are trying to evict her and the rest of the top floor occupants. The rest of the block is empty. The developers only need to move the top floor out or rehouse them to get their project underway.
A youth is chased across the estate by two other youths. He heads into the tower block and makes his way to the top. He cries for help but no one wants to know.
Becky witnesses him being beaten through the spy-hole in her front door. She tries to intervene but gets beaten herself.
When the police come calling Sheridan says she saw nothing as do all the other tenants. The boy was beaten to death but everyone is too afraid to give information out for fear of being labelled a grass.
Time moves on and Becky meets a new fella. She hasn't been serious about anyone since the break- up of a long term relationship.
Here is where the movie takes a turn and we are thrown into a tense hour of action, revolving around fear and survival.
Someone as gone a hell of a long way to make sure everyone is trapped in the building. No one is safe and people are being picked off one by one by a sniper. The whole block is rigged with booby traps and there is no way out other than being shot; or is there?
The Main Cast
Becky - Sheridan Smith
Kurtis - Jack O'Connell
Paul - Russel Tovey
Neville - Ralph Brown
Violet - Jill Baker
Ami - Loui Batley
Gary - Nabil Elouahabi
DC Devlin - Steven Cree
Eddie - Tony Jayawardena
What I will say to right from the start is if you're looking for a formidable plot with amazing twists that is steeped in the very finest method acting, then you may as well not watch this. Now that may sound bad and may put you off but please don't let it. What I mean by that statement is that if you take this movie too seriously then you may be disappointed but if you watch it with no expectations and embrace it then what you will have is a rather entertaining little film that will fill up ninety minutes.
I quite enjoyed it and while the plot isn't the strongest and I could rip holes in it quite easily I won't because the director manages to build the tension quite well and it kept me interested. This was mainly due to the cast. While, admittedly, some of them are bit part players and obviously there to be picked off, the main cast hold the story up well. Sheridan Smith is her usual charming and rather cute, in her own way, self and brings some grittiness to the role of Becky. Jack O'Connell plays bad boy Kurtis to a tee and love him or hate him (you will probably hate him) he gets most of the movies funny lines and central plot turns.
The first half an hour ambles along and makes you wonder what is going to happen. I felt I was in for another life in a suburban town type story of love and loss and love again. Then boom the whole screen shook and the film took an unexpected turn which turns the whole thing on its head. I found that quite refreshing and the next hour whizzed by as I revelled in wondering what was going to happen next even though I could have probably worked it out in ten seconds if I chose to do so; but where is the fun in that. I'll leave that kind of thing to the gullible lot whom those types of movies are made for. You worked it out....good boy....here have a biscuit!
I was well pleased (and this may sound strange) that Sheridan had two vests on and wasn't showing a lot of cleavage. It would have been too obvious and too exploitative. Then in the last fifteen minutes one of the vests comes off to use as a bandage and the much lower cut vest is revealed. Although I am not opposed to Miss Sheridan's rather ample bosom I must admit it felt a little tacky and almost like a sort of 'here you go boys, you didn't think we would allow the whole movie to go by without at least a little cleavage pressing, hand to hand fighting did you?' Still I didn't let it affect the rest of the movie and taped my thumb to my fingers to stop me pressing the pause button. I jest of course but I sort of wish they had left her how she was even though her dignity was still attached at the end.
Overall the film was cast well and although it is never going to break any box office records or win any awards it is also put together well and well directed by joint directors James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson.
James Moran's script was no doubt quite tricky to put together and get right and is a lot more complicated on paper than it reads off the screen. But then I sort of expected that after viewing 'Severance'. What it has done is wet my appetite for 'Cockneys vs. Zombies'; not that it wasn't whetted already by the thought of Michelle Ryan in latex holding a shot gun.
There are enough shocks and surprise moments to keep you hooked and some of the characters are so loathsome and lame that it is quite a relief when they get killed off, but I think that that was intentionally on the director's part; build up the hate for a character and then let them have it!
The DVD contains the standard movie with varying aspects and sound choices but the extras are rather scant with just a trailer and a behind the scenes documentary.
All in all I would give the movie three out of five stars and recommend it to those of you who just want an hour and a half's light entertainment and not those who want to try and be clever by ripping it to pieces and failing miserably (I didn't mention the Guardian or the Times...I didn't).