Block war: High-Rise Review


Cert: 15
Directed by Ben Wheatley
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Millar, Luke Evans & Elizabeth Moss

From the off, the prospect of Ben Wheatley, director of the trippy ‘A Field In England’ tackling the work of J. G. Ballard is an enticing prospect. 

Based on Ballards 1975 novel of the same name, it tells the story of the occupants of an alternate semi-dystopian high-rise some time in the 1970’s, the richest, most prosperous occupants living at the top and the poorer tenants at the bottom. All of their modern conveniences provided for, they become increasingly disconnected from the outside world as infrastructure in the block begins to deteriorate, so does their collective sanity and society. 
Wheatley offers his almost trademark jarring imagery right from the get go with a very unorthodox BBQ and not long after, a very graphic autopsy to introduce one of the main characters. He totally has the look of the period set out to a tee, this film exudes that tacky, clinical 70’s decor and fashion perfectly. In places, along side ‘Requiem For A Dream’ composer Clint Mansel’s brilliant score, there is a very Clockwork Orange vibe going on.
The cast is suitably impressive also, Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Millar, Luke Evans & Jeremy Irons all give excellent performances in the principle roles with nice supporting turns from the likes of Elizabeth Moss, Keeley Hawes, Dan Skinner and the ever wonderful Reese Shearsmith.

The story is wonderfully handled by the very able Wheatley, establishing the tenants and world inside the high-rise, how they have become increasingly disconnected & disinterested in the outside world and on their homes subsequent disintergration, literally through the buildings failing infrastructure and figuratively through the tensions between the inhabitants of the upper & lower levels as their society begins to crumble around them. The sense of tension and impending dread as these once civil people start to go slowly insane is both disturbing, sometimes darkly comical and in some cases sad, but never dull. It keeps you interested in this world right the way through to the chilling end maybe because it is a world that is not too dissimilar to our own.

High-Rise is available now on DVD & Bluray.


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