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Movie Reviews

Tower Block




Released: 21st September 2012

Directed By: James Nunn/Ronnie Thompson

Starring: Sheridan Smith, Jack O’Connell

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: Christopher Ejizu

Tower Block sees a sick brand of vengeance brought to a group of occupants in this tense entry from first-time feature directors James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson. With a synopsis close to the feel of Assault on Precinct 13, this British entry sees the cast entrapped on the highest floor of a barren setting, already riddled with criminality.

Welcome to Serenity House, the worn-down tower block scheduled for demolition, housing a handful of residents on the top floor awaiting counsel re-housing. Months prior, a terrible crime took place where a teenager was chased and beaten to death with all residents turning a blind eye.  However, the past has come back to haunt them when a sniper decided to eliminate all those present on the top floor with acute force. The survivors must now work together to stay alive and attempt to get help from the outside world before the unseen assassin takes all of them out.

Severance writer James Moran pens this screenplay and is able to create a fairly linear plot direction for the film to follow. The next move in the story does become predictable from the middle of the film onwards which left little space for character subplot or fresh ideas. This doesn’t take away from the fact that there’s good levels of suspense and interesting ideas written in this thriller that has an impressively abrupt start to the ominous atmosphere. The filmmaking choices that directing duo Nunn and Thompson make also act as a positive, having being able to capture various moments with a likeable style.

The cast achieve great results in their respected roles but also translate a dynamic partnership onto screen. Seeing how the cast work together as they deal with developing situations proves to be a good watch. Sheridan Smith, playing average citizen Becky, slowly takes full control of her role of leading lady, acting as the protector for the remaining survivors. Jack O’ Connell executes a familiar but the strongest performance as the threatening Kurtis, who brings a rough charm as the film advances. Working alongside the two, Russell Tovey works on-screen as alcoholic Paul but isn’t utilised with enough material with the screen time he’s given to make a considerable impact in comparison to the other cast.

Tower Block pushes to be one of the better British thrillers present. The screenwriting is engaging but uses the ‘characters killed one at a time’ path and tends to follow a formulaic development. However, the promising direction, gripping moments and lively cast members that interact successfully save the film from being seen as a rehash and makes for an exciting watch.


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