We read J.G. Ballard’s book a while back when we heard High-Rise was to be made into a film. The reason for our interest was that it was to be directed by Ben Wheatley, who had given us amongst others, Down Terrace; Kill List and Sightseers, which we had enjoyed.
The story centres around Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston), who in the book we learn is moving to the High-Rise, having recently been divorced but for the film, it is after his sister dies. This High-Rise is very m,
This High-Rise is very much different to modern day ones as, as it runs on a two-tier system, the lower earning at the bottom to the super rich at the top.
The High-Rise includes a gym and supermarket amongst other conveniences and even has super fast lifts, depending on your level of course.
This was all the idea of The Architect, Royal (Jeremy Irons) and the film shows how after Laing moves in, things quickly go out of control.
Laing moves into the 25th floor and quickly starts up a relationship with Charlotte (Sienna Miller) and becomes friends with Richard Wilder (Luke Evans) and his heavily pregnant wife Helen (Elisabeth Moss).
Following a fainting by Munrow (Augustus Prew) at the psychology class that Laing teaches where he is removing the skin from a skull, events follow that result in him being invited to a party being thrown by Ann, Royal’s wife (Keeley Hawes)
He turns up in his suit and is ridiculed as Monrow did not tell him it was an 18th-century fancy dress party. He ends up being thrown out into a lift and gets trapped due to the now increasingly common power cuts. Other failures include the garbage shoots not working so it is not the nicest smelling environment.
Munrow commits suicide following results Laing made up for the reason he fainted, after being humiliated at the party and seeking revenge. Wilder finds it suspicious that no police have turned up and sets out to expose the injustices of the have and have nots.
Laing of course now blames himself for the death of Munrow and barricades himself in his room, losing his mind, we know this from the films opening where he is seen eating a dog’s leg =(
During this, law and order becomes completely lost between the high and low levels of the floor, with Wilder fighting with the wealthy residents. He gets hold of a gun and plans to kill Royal and bring an end to the increasing tensions within the building.
The book, published in 1975, still feels to be relevant today, with events such as the London Riots showing how the divide between wealth can increase tensions between those who do not.
The film, like many other films with bleak futures from Mad Max to A Clockwork Orange, can be unsettling to watch at times. We were sad to see that the brutality to dogs from the book made the film, although not as brutal as described in the written word.
This, if we are honest, was probably our least favourite film from Wheatley. The film does have merits, Luke Evans is outstanding as Wilder and Miller is also very good, it was also good to see Hiddleston acting rather than fill papers about his current relationship with Taylor Swift.
The film despite its budget looks fantastic. We found the beginning of the film excellent but sadly it does lose its way when the chaos begins, which was a shame.
What did you think of High-Rise? We would love to hear from you
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