In an all but deserted tower block, a small group of residents still remain, waiting to be rehoused. They wake up one morning to realise that a crazed gunman has set up a sniper rifle in a building opposite, seemingly intent on killing everyone. Thrown into an impossible situation, the residents of Serenity house fight to escape alive. I’ve noticed there is a growing trend, with British movies, to include some sort of social commentary. Some movies use this to great effect such as Harry Brown and Eden Lake. In each case, the story seem more real for including themes that the average British person can relate to. Tower Block, by contrast, belongs to the long list of movies that didn’t quite manage to pull it off.
I couldn’t help cringing at some of the stereotypical “working class” characters in this movie. Maybe it’s because I’m British and perhaps Americans watch American movies and cringe at what they think are very unrealistic portrayals of a stereotypical rednecks, for example, that I would never pick up on. Unfortunately for Tower Block though, I am British, like most of its target audience. It’s the dialogue mostly, it just doesn’t ring true. Jack O’Connell as Kurtis is actually pretty believable with his crazy eyes and cocky walk, but as soon as he opens his mouth it’s all over.
I could probably get past all this, but quite a lot of this movie has to do with drawing attention to difficult social issues like crime and punishment and problems that come with living in a poor area; It’s very hard to empathise with these characters when they seem so divorced from real life.
I have to admit as well that the premise is a little silly. I mean there has to be more effective ways of committing mass murder, albeit with less poetic irony. Suspending my disbelief was at times really challenging.
To sum up
Despite all that though, Tower Block is interesting, and that has to count for something. If it wasn’t for all the “is it wrong or isn’t it?” moralising this movie seems quite set on doing, I would have called it an entertaining, if not intellectually nourishing film. But sadly it is there, and Tower Block suffers for it, proving that if you can’t do something properly, you might as well not bother.