Thursday, January 5, 2017

High-Rise - DVD Review

HIGH-RISE (R) Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes and Sienna Guillory.
Written by Amy Jump.
Directed by Ben Wheatley.


This movie is based on a 1975 JG Ballard novel, and the director has wisely kept it in that time-period, even as it's looking forward into a dystopian future. Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons) has designed a series of high-rise buildings, obnoxious blocky things that jut at the top like a concrete claw.

Dr. Laing (Tom Hiddleston) is a resident on the 25th floor of this 40-story building, and it's through his eyes that we follow the happenings of the High-Rise. The High-Rise is its own character. The interiors are garish and psychadelic; the exteriors cold and dank. The movie establishes fairly early that it's a social satire against class warfare and capitalism run amok. The richer people of the higher floors don't take long before they start exploiting their "lessers" of the lower floors.

The movie really gets away from itself once order breaks down. The camera zooms around on rich, orgiastic parties, then taking time to observe the poor people living amongst the piling-up trash of the ground floor. I've never read the book, and my understanding is that it was deemed unfilmable. Well, they certainly put forth a solid effort here, but the second half just gets messier and messier while it relentlessly hammers home its "rich people are awful" point.

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