High-Rise is the new film by Brit director Ben Wheatley from a screenplay by Amy Jump based on the 1975 novel by J.G. Ballard. It stars Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons. The music is by Clint Mansell (Requiem for Dream)
The lives of residents of a high rise building, coming from different levels in society are slowly getting out of control as they enter a descent into madness leading to a violent revolution.
A metaphor for today’s class struggles, creating a vision of modernity seen from a 70’s perspective, High-Rise is filled with surreal black humor served by a cast acting it out like they are fresh out of a dystopian society flick. The looks and ambiance borrow from sci-fi and even horror, in the later parts, as it becomes increasingly gory with something of the organic touch that was already in David Cronenberg’s Crash based on the same author .
Cinematographer Laurie Rose developed a good sense of framing (it wasn’t always the case) and it is put to good use. Even if overlong and a bit complex by today’s (low) standards (I’ve read your complaints on social media), the editing is artistically the strongest point of the film. The association of rhythmic images, playing with time and space, with early Alain Resnais or even Russian Avant-garde notes, presents deliberate missing pieces. It feels, at time, as you arrive in the middle of a conversation or an action (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas comes to mind) not knowing what happened exactly prior to your presence. It provides the needed sense of chaos.
High-Rise is arguably Ben Wheatley’s best film to date.