Movie Review: High-Rise (2015)

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Based on the 1975 novel by J. G. Ballard (who also wrote that really strange car-accident fetish novel, Crash – seriously, find it and read it) and directed by Ben Wheatley (who also directed the fantastic Kill List), High-Rise is a 2015 thriller/sci-fi-ish film starring Tom Hiddleston. Dr Robert Laing (Hiddleston) moves into the new apartment complex, on level 25, and makes friends with his immediate neighbours. Once the building’s luxuries and infrastructure begin to break down, the building devolves into class warfare between the upper and lower floors, where Robert is forced to play between his upper neighbour, single mother Charlotte (Sienna Miller) and Richard and Helen Wilder (Luke Evans and Elizabeth Moss) whilst simultaneously working out his own inner demons.

+ Hiddleston, as Dr Laing, displays all the charm and sex appeal he is known for, and it will be his mental state as the film progresses which is of most interest. Jeremy Irons also shines as Anthony Royal, the creator of the tower (it’s midwife, so to speak)
+ a fantastic opening monologue shows just the kind of movie you should expect; death, sex, love, life, animals, lack of food, dilapidated buildings, rich people, crazy people… it’s a fantastic, surreal segment that may catch you off guard
+ even when things in the building are breaking down, you can’t help but chuckle at both the circumstances and just how bad things have become, and wonder just how you’d react in the same situation

– whilst I don’t think the film was hard to follow, as such, I’ll admit that I didn’t quite understand why Laing didn’t just leave, considering things were going to hell around him, but he had a job on the outside, and obviously had money. It is the sort of thing you’ll have to discuss later, because it is not made clear in the film itself

> the film works as a sort of vertical version of 2013’s Snowpiercer, though more character driven, rather than circumstantial revolution.

Should you see this film: I really don’t know. There is not much action, and it is very dialogue heavy, but if you are the sort of person who enjoys surrealist, black comedy character studies then this is for you. Otherwise, fans of Hiddleston who just want to see what he can do outside of comic book movies will certainly get something from this.

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