Last night against my better judgement I watched Attack the Block (directed by Joe Cornish UK 2011). The film set out to in its tone, to represent itself as sympathetic to the yoot, personified by a street gang led by a young afro-carribean boy, the dialogue seems to emerge from transcribing much of that heard in the Baltimore of The Wire to a South London tower block (it looks like Kennington), and there is a sequence of trustafarian, wannabe, who the yoots humiliate for his lack of coolness. The truth is that all of these rather superficial efforts to target an audience of wannabe street gang members, the film makers appear just as the trustafarian does, too white and too middle class. I’ll tell you how I know. Apart from the statistical improbability of senior members of the production team breaking the mold, the audience is finally given a glimpse of the afro-carribean gang leader’s motivation in the final ten minutes, through the character of a sympathetic white woman, who discovers his social deprivation, lack of male role model and loneliness. Ticks all the film four boxes then doesn’t it.
As Samuel Beckett said; Try fail, try again, fail better. Better still guys (and gals), steer clear of representations you have no personal experience of, and don’t patronise your audiences.