Thriller Movies, by Mike Richardson, 02 October 2012

Director: James Nunn, Ronnie Thompson

Stars: Sheridan Smith, Jack O'Connell and Ralph Brown

Country: USA

Runtime: 90 min

Release Date:

Language: English

Don’t write off Tower Block as a grey carbuncle of a Mike Leigh gritty urban movie, it is actually a very economical Brit thriller that plays to its strengths and doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. The set-up has the last few residents of a soon-to-be-demolished urban slum getting picked off by a mystery sniper (all their neighbours have been rehoused). It’s a lot more than Colin Farrell’s similar Phone Booth from the years ago, but has an overpowering sense of a film, done the hard way, in the UK.

Tower Block

Tower Block

The characters in Tower Bock may be predictable and the identity of the “mystery” triggerman isn’t too hard to work out, but the tension, action, acting and angst are all believable, while the violence remains shocking and sudden. Special praise must go to the cast (a roll call of familiar Brit TV faces) that includes Sheridan Smith, Jack O’Connell, Ralph Brown & Russell Tovey. Especially good is Smith as Eastend Sarah Connor and Jack O’Connell as a wrong ‘un who comes good.

Tower Block is the story of the inhabitants of a soon to be levelled tower block (of flats) where, a year after witnessing a murder, the last tenants must band together to stay alive when a murderer with a sniper rifle starts picking them off…in their flats. The first selling point of Tower Block is the location, a new twist on the “cut off” in familiar surroundings, genre”, left living on the top floor with nobody in the surrounding area. Whoops, there is a little bit of politics there, but Tower Block is clearly NOT a political kitchen sink drama.

Tower Block heralds the arrival of some fresh British filmmaking meat, with James Nunn & Ronnie Thompson behind the lens, while the screenplay was written by James Moran, who has also been credited on Halloween: H33 and the other UK schlock horror comedy Cockneys vs Zombies. The script in Tower Block keeps things moving at a decent speed and guarantees a decent shock or suspense scene at regular intervals. It also makes the most of the group (of disparate stereotypes) and the dialogue is sharply written, without being a wannabe Tarantino.

When the bullets of the murderous sniper suddenly start coming through the windows. The questions and theories fly as fast as the ballistics; why is he shooting? What’s he got against the residents? And how on earth can they get out? This is a two edged ploy and the downside is that the ending, feels like the weediest part of the film. While it works great as a dark action-thriller with the way the film is set up, the explanation-climax isn’t quite as interesting as the main premise.

Tower Block Trailer

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