I went into this film with ZERO expectations. I had heard incredibly mixed opinions about Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel (which had actually been coined an “unfilmable” film), but was curious about the concept of a forty-story tall high-rise building where the residents quickly slip into animalistic, barbaric behavior (also, Tom Hiddleston. No shame in my game).
High-Rise features some incredible performances. Hiddleston is magical in the role of Dr. Robert Laing, the newest resident of the tower block. That we get to see Hiddle-bum in the first few minutes is a pleasant bonus… Erhmm. Luke Evans was captivating as a womanizing father who rebels against the system and Jeremy Irons was magnetic as the architect of the building (who is hiding some major secrets). The portrayal of women in this film needs to be noted, though. Sienna Miller and Elisabeth Moss are pretty much relegated to sexual play things, there for a good fuck, to look pretty, and to pop out children (to be fair, Dr. Laing was respectful of the women…).
The visuals and cinematography in this film are absolutely stunning. Seeing a garden that could rival Versailles in the middle of the tower block is incredibly jarring yet beautiful at the same time. The juxtaposition of beauty and filth was exquisite (ie., dog meat being served on china plates, blood filling a swimming pool, nice cars set against a grimy concrete background). I also enjoyed the fast and unique cuts, which most filmmakers wouldn’t employ.
The pacing of the film is extremely fast-paced and it’s easy to miss out on small details. It can even be messy at times, but it suits the story. I actually want to re-watch this film soon to pick up on any little details I missed during my first viewing.
High-Rise was an excellently acted, fast-paced, ballsy, beautiful mind-fuck of a film with some messy pacing (and which also happened to sexually objectify women). I’m aching to watch this movie again to pick up on the details I missed on my previous viewing, and to try to decipher the different meanings that can be interpreted from this film.