Reviewed by Andy
Every so often, a film comes along where there is huge value to going in knowing as little as possible; not so much because of increasingly spoilerific trailers but where not knowing even an outline allows the first watch to have better impact in either twists, laughs or changing tone.
Tower Block is one of those films, and has a very spoilery trailer, so for you to be able to go in as best as possible I’ll just give this information – it’s a thriller set in a tower block scheduled for demolition where only the top floor is still occupied, and stars Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller, companion of the 8th Doctor in Big Finish), Russell Tovey and Jack O’Connell. And if you keep an eye out there’s a poster for Cockneys vs Zombies briefly visible!
So, is it any good? The answer is a resounding yes – James Moran’s script is taut, tense and witty and the pacing is excellent. The cast shine too, Sheridan Smith showing she can easily handle a movie lead role and Jack O’Connell taking a potentially completely unpleasant character and running a fine line that doesn’t undermine any cruel acts but also shows an underlying code and reasoning for his behaviour with a wicked sense of humour. It’s the first feature for directors James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson, but you wouldn’t know it from watching; the environment is used effectively to give a sense of isolation and even claustrophobia at times, and there is a good attention to detail.
Another test for Tower Block will be if it stands up to rewatching; I believe it will as the sense of logic is pretty good, and while there are twists that may be best the first time round, the film’s focus isn’t solely on them so there is still much to appreciate second time round or beyond.
There are some minor niggles – the ending doesn’t quite live up to the impact of earlier events – but this is a British thriller of real note. Try to keep away from trailers and other details of the film, and there’s extra reward to be had for seeing with a completely blank slate. ****