High-Rise

"Weak"

High-Rise Review


After a string of award-winning arthouse hits like Kill List and A Field in England, director Ben Wheatley and writer Amy Jump stumble with this adaptation of the 1970s J.G. Ballard novel. The satirical dystopian setting offers buckets of eye-popping visual style, plus outrageously twisted characters the A-list cast have a lot of fun sinking their teeth into. But while the themes are strong, the people on screen are so aggressively loathsome that it's not an easy movie to watch.

It's set in a brutal concrete tower within commuting distance of London, where new resident Robert (Tom Hiddleston) is learning his way around the building's modern, self-contained design. He especially enjoys flirting with his sexy upstairs neighbour Charlotte (Sienna Miller). But the building has a social structure that is creating some serious tension. Wealthy residents like the tower's architect Anthony (Jeremy Irons) live at the top, while economically struggling families like Helen and Richard (Elisabeth Moss and Luke Evans) are closer to the ground, with middle-class families in between. So when the lower floors lose their supply of water and electricity, they revolt against the upper classes, waging all-out war in the hallways.

The political commentary is astute and perhaps even more timely today than it was in 1975, when the novel was written and when the film is set. And each of the characters is full of energy and anger. So it's frustrating that the choppy editing style seems to lose track of people and plot-threads as it shifts around to various angles on the action. This makes all of the violence and sex feel oddly random and excessive, as things get increasingly nasty and each of the people loses the audience's sympathy. Hiddleston has terrific presence, but the film kind of abandons him along the way. While Irons is hamming it up shamelessly, Evans is inexplicably brutal and both Moss and Miller are little more than victims.

Every element on-screen looks amazing, with witty sets and costumes that cleverly play up the chasm between rich and poor. It's also very clever to make a movie that plays with Thatcherite politics to explore the restlessness of the 99 percent today. But without a single character the audience can sympathise with, and none who are charismatic enough to grab hold of the imagination, the movie simply never resonates. It may please fans of jarringly abrasive movies, but everyone else will be hoping that Wheatley and Jump have a story that's a bit more coherent next time around.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for High-Rise:



High-Rise

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 28th April 2016

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Dr. Robert Laing, as Charlotte Melville, as Anthony Royal, as Richard Wilder, as Helen Wilder, as Nathan Steele, Peter Ferdinando as Cosgrove, Daniel Renton Skinner as Simmons, as Pangbourne, as Fay, as Ann Royal

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.