Ben Oliver

Banner image for High-Rise


Looks like the rot’s set in.
21 March 2016

Life in a luxury high-rise building devolves into anarchy. Tom Hiddleston stars alongside Sienna Miller and Jeremy Irons.

This adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel is a little late to the game. The idea of a tower forming its own social hierarchy, the rich at the top and the poor at the bottom, makes it like a vertical version of Snowpiercer. The creator lives at the very top too, just like Ed Harris’ character on the train-version.

Beyond that though the two films share little in common and this is perhaps an unfair comparison. High-Rise is a chaotic, often surreal experience that, like the tower, slowly spirals out of control. I found it a frustrating experience rather than an engrossing one, however.

Wheatley seems content to ram the concept down our throats with a total disregard for the audience. What begins as an interesting premise ends as a tiresome ordeal. All the characters are merely pieces to a puzzle we are supposed to somehow put together. It’s cerebral, but ultimately monotonous and completely devoid of emotion.

Hiddleston is good as the lead though, he’s detached from the action and unsure what to make of it - much like us…

High-Rise is a pretty film, driven by a good concept and backed by a well picked soundtrack. However, it’s stuck too far up its own lift shaft to be something you’ll want to revisit.