Tower Block review (DVD)

Tower Block is best described as a TV movie writ large. That sounds like a baser slight than intended, because the film is not as bad as all that. But with a slim story premise and acting that careens from the comically awful to the really rather impressive, Tower Block feels like a 60-minute TV episode of some British crime show with pretensions of big-screen grandeur.

Even so, Nunn and Thompson do manage to generate some nail-biting tension, predominantly in the first two acts, and Moran’s script is genuinely humorous in parts. There are also some great performances, most markedly from O’Connell (Weekender), who captivates as a local thug unwillingly forced into uncharacteristic heroism. Smith, best known for her role in popular sitcom Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, is also good as the lead, proving that she has a little more acting moxie than northern bint.

And yet, all the good is undone by the bad. The really rather simple story – the top floor residents of a soon to be demolished London tower block, ironically called Serenity House, are pinned down by a vengeful sniper – is riddled with glaring holes; important plot points are inexplicably shirked; and the characters are, on the whole, so unlikable you end up wishing the psychopath would just get on with it.

And let’s not even go into the glaringly obvious twist. Overall, Tower Block is a frustrating watch, mainly because it’s clear there’s a great thriller screaming to get out, but the film-makers seem to have been wearing mufflers throughout.

EXTRAS ★ Just a short behind-the-scenes featurette (6:05).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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