Friday, May 27, 2016

"High-Rise" Review by Tim Hellman

'HIGH-RISE': Four Stars (Out of Five)

A British thriller flick, from director Ben Wheatley (who also helmed the popular 2011 British thriller film 'KILL LIST'). The movie was scripted by Amy Jump (Wheatley's wife, and usual writing partner), and it was based on the 1975 novel, of the same name, by J.G. Ballard. The story is about a high-rise tower, that's cutoff from the rest of society, which falls into anarchic chaos, when social conflicts continue to escalate between the residents. The film stars Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Elisabeth Moss. I found it to be bizarre and oddly fascinating.

Hiddleston plays Dr. Robert Laing; a physiologist that takes a job at a new London tower block, which he also moves into. The high-rise is divided into different social classes; with the rich living in higher floors, and poorer residents living in lower ones. The building has everything occupants need (like a supermarket, gym and swimming pool), so residents hardly ever have to leave. Social conflicts arise when the tower's power begins to fail, and the poor suffer the blunt of it. Disagreements become violent, as the high-rise turns to total chaos and anarchy.

The movie is definitely strange, and sometimes hard to follow (for me at least), but I liked it even more because of this. Hiddleston is great in the lead, and Wheatley's direction is very fitting to the material. The story is a great examination of the power struggles between 'the haves and the have-nots'. It's also an interesting look at mental illness, as almost everyone in the movie seems to go completely crazy (very quickly). It's very amusing, quirky, and darkly humorous too. I'd definitely say it's a well made little indie thriller.

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